Jan 31 2007
1 Comment

Trinidad Smelter Coming this Year

Trinidad Express

Construction of an aluminium smelting plant in Trinidad and Tobago is set to begin before the end of this year. Furthermore, the nation can expect to see two aluminium smelters in operation by the year 2012.

These were the two startling announcements made by Prime Minister Patrick Manning yesterday, as he addressed the Eighth summit of the African Union (AU) in Ethiopia, even as the debate still rages on in Trinidad and Tobago as to whether any smelters should be constructed here.

Manning chose to make his announcement in Addis Adaba, nearly 7,000 miles from Trinidad and Tobago.

There, he outlined the Government’s industrialisation policy to an audience that included the new United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, and all 53 Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

Whitehall issued a copy of Manning address yesterday afternoon.

“We are not ceasing our industrial development, we are going full pace ahead. Therefore, in 2007: an aluminium smelter is expected to start construction this year, and we will have two in operation by 2012,” Manning said.

He did not, however, identify whether the smelter that is to be constructed this year would be the US$1.5 billion smelter proposed by international aluminium giant Alcoa, the smaller majority State-owned Alutrint smelter to be built in La Brea, or some other proposed plant. In his 2006 Christmas Day message delivered on December 24, Manning had announced a Cabinet decision to a cancel the proposed construction of a smelter in Cap-de-ville/Chatham.

Instead, he said the Cabinet decided to accelerate development of a new industrial estate offshore Otaheite Bank.

Alcoa, the Government and the National Energy Corporation are set to re-enter talks for the relocation of its smelter.

Amidst protests against the Otaheite proposal, the ruling People’s National Movement held a special convention on industrialisation in Vessigny two weeks ago.

There, Manning said the Government had received requests from several interest groups in the Chatham area, indicating support for the plant in their community.

In Addis Adaba yesterday, Manning detailed the Government’s other industrialisaion plans, which include the construction of an ethylene and polyethylene complex, as well as one for propylene and polypropylene.

“These will be the building blocks of the plastics industry. We have implemented a policy that all investors must go downstream. By 2012, we should be among the top three per capita users of electricity in the world,” he said.

Manning also announced Government’s plan to provide its expertise in the energy sector free of charge to seven West African countries: Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Nigeria, Congo, Cameroon and Angola.


Note the Trini Express’ page is worth viewing in order to read the unanimous fury from Trinidad and Tobago and abroad at Manning’s decision.

One Response to “Trinidad Smelter Coming this Year”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well, a year on and this has not yet happened! Alcoa seems to be out of the picture for now (please correct me my Trinbagonian friends) and Alutrint is still fighting in court for their project. Well, Mr Patrick Manning, you may be as loud as an elephant but the little people wont always let you get your way, will they!