By Horace Helps
KINGSTON, June 13 (Reuters) - The Jamaican government said on Friday that mining company Alcoa will pull out of Jamaica within two years.
The Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining said in a statement that it had received "formal confirmation" from Alcoa World & Alumina Chemicals (Alcoa) that it plans to sell its interests in Jamaica as part of a consolidation strategy.
Alcoa and the Jamaican government are joint venture partners in Jamalco, a bauxite-producing company. Alcoa has a 55 percent stake in Jamalco, with the remaining 45 percent held by the Jamaican government through its holding company Clarendon Alumina Production Ltd (CAP). The plant is managed by Alcoa.
Alcoa did not respond to requests for comment.
Alcoa planned "to pursue its global strategy of streamlining its operations to reshape and focus more definitively on its upstream portfolio," the ministry said in its statement.
The ministry said that Alcoa, which has been in Jamaica for 55 years, signed a letter of intent on Thursday with Noble Resources UK Limited to sell its ownership stake in the Jamalco.
Noble could not be reached immediately for comment.
Noble Group Ltd is a leading global supply chain company of agricultural and energy products, metals and minerals. It entered the Jamaica bauxite and alumina sector last year, when it agreed to provide a line of financing to CAP between 2013 and 2016 and buy alumina at improved prices, the Jamaican government said.
The government said Alcoa would continue to operate as the managing partner of Jamalco with 11 percent interest in the joint venture for at least two years, and with an opportunity to continue as a technical adviser for a further seven years.
(Editing by David Adams and Leslie Adler)