Jamaica has increased the rates paid for bauxite by U.S. and Canadian companies operating on the island.

The announcement was made as the government released figures showing an improvement in the island's earnings from the industry last year.Jamaica is the world's third-largest producer of bauxite ore, after Australia and Guinea. Companies involved in the industry here are Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. of Oakland, Calif., the Aluminum Co. of America, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and the Aluminium Co. of Canada.

These companies now will pay US$20.93 a metric ton for ore mined in 1988, $3.48 higher than the price set at the start of 1987.

Under a bauxite production levy that determines what the Jamaican government earns from the industry, the price of bauxite ore is pegged to the

average market price of aluminum ingot sold in North America, Europe and Asia. This year's levy rate is based on an ingot price of 72 US cents a pound, against 62 cents last year.

The increase in aluminum prices last year led the government to raise the bauxite price to $18.59 a metric ton in the last quarter of the year, officials said. They suggested further increases in the price of the metal could lead to another revision of bauxite rates before the end of this year.

Jamaica produced 7.9 million metric tons of bauxite last year, one million metric tons more than 1986. The nation's industry in 1987 earned $194 million, up $28.73 million from the previous year.

According to the Jamaica Bauxite Institute, a state agency, industry earnings are made up of the companies' operating costs, royalties and payments under the production levy.