With an estimated bauxite resource base of over 900 million metric tonnes, a comprehensive development of an integrated aluminium industry would create nearly 2 million sustainable jobs with an anticipated US$1trillion in total revenue for the country, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Samuel Abu Jinapor has said.
He indicated that the real benefit of the country’s mineral resources lies in value addition, explaining that while bauxite sells around US$40 to US$60 per metric tonne, refined bauxite (alumina) however sells for over US$400 per metric tonne – with primary aluminium produced from alumina going for US$2,000 per metric tonne.
The minister was speaking at a Downstream Aluminium Industry Workshop at Senchi in the Eastern Region, and noted that building a full-fledged integrated aluminium industry requires planning and long-term investment with emphasis on local value addition.
The workshop, hosted by the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), started discussions on establishing a policy framework and implementation plan for the country’s downstream aluminium industry after a thorough policy master-plan for the upstream sector was formulated.
Mr. Jinapor said Ghana’s failure over the years to put in place a mechanism for developing this integrated industry has deprived the country of much-needed revenue that should accrue from these resources.
A fully-integrated aluminium industry, apart from job creation and revenue generation according to the lands ministry, is also expected to build local expertise through knowledge and technology transfer; and contribute to government’s industrialisation agenda and infrastructural development.
Since 2019, GIADEC has been working to leverage opportunities in the sector by developing a master-plan for the industry which focuses mainly on the upstream industry – (mining, refining and smelting).
Plans are ongoing to develop three additional mines in Nyinahini, Mpasaaso and Kyebi, together with modernisation works and retrofitting VALCO to smelt alumina produced in the country.
The master-plan led to the launch of a 4-project agenda in 2021 to expand the existing mine at Awaso to increase production from 1.4 million metric tonnes per year to 5 million tonnes per annum.
The VALCO retrofit is expected to utilise approximately 300,000 tonnes of aluminium annually. This will be an increase from the 40,000 – 50,000 tonnes currently produced yearly.
As the host of AfCFTA, it is anticipated that a fully-integrated aluminium industry with finished aluminium products would have access to a market of over one billion people, with Ghana as a launch-pad for reaching the continental and global markets.