Russia's RusAl, the world's largest aluminum producer, denied on Friday it plans to close its last working enterprise in Jamaica and lay off 600 workers, Izvestia daily newspaper reported.
The Jamaica Observer reported this week that Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell told the country's parliament on Tuesday RusAl will shut the Ewarton alumina plant for a year from October due to the downturn in the bauxite sector amid falling demand in the global economy.
Paulwell also said the possible closure would mean all three RusAl in Jamaica enterprises would be non-operational, with Kirkvine and Alpart having been closed since 2009.
"The company's board of directors plans to determine at a meeting in September 2012, the enterprises where production capacities could be cut," RusAl spokeswoman Yekaterina Godlevskaya told Izvestia. "There was no decision to close Ewarton and information about its closing from October 2012 for a year is untruthful."
Jamaica's economy relies heavily on exports of bauxite, the ore from which alumina is produced.