Alumina production at the JISCO-owned Alpart refinery in Nain, St. Elizabeth are to be temporarily suspended as early as this month.

That’s according to Mining Minister, Robert Montague who says despite their best efforts, production will have to be suspended at the over 50-year-old plant.

The suspension is to facilitate upgrades of the plant.

It will impact several employees and the business community on the southern belt of the parish.

It’s also not known when production might resume.

There’s been speculation for weeks that operations at the plant would’ve been suspended indefinitely.

Minister Montague disclosed on Nationwide This Morning that alumina production could stop as early as this month.

The Minister says JISCO is temporarily suspending production to ensure an efficient upgrading process.

The Technical team of the Ministry says it offered several options to JISCO during the modernization discussions.

However, after due consideration the company decided it would halt production for several reasons.

These include Worker Safety and Welfare, the high cost of production, low and falling alumina prices on the world market and difficulties sourcing parts for old equipment.

The Minister says most of the employees are expected to be affected.

The hopes of close to 400 other workers who were recently laid off have been shattered.

While all stakeholders are now certain when the plant may suspend production, there’s still uncertainty about when JISCO will complete its upgrades and begin full operations again.

Minister Montague was tight lipped this morning when pressed by Nationwide’s Kalilah Reynolds and Patria-Kaye Aarons to disclose a timeline.