Government will soon establish a Bauxite-Aluminium Authority whose sole responsibility is to develop a policy to attract investments to tap Ghana’s rich mineral resource for maximum benefit to the country.
This was disclosed by President Akufo-Addo at the 5th Africa CEO Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. The board of the Bauxite-Aluminum Authority, which will operate along the lines of the Ghana Railway Development Authority, is expected to be in place by June.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the Authority will help create a strong aluminum industry, and ensure that relevant resources are gathered to check its exploitation.
“Our country has enormous natural resources; bauxite, iron ore. They remain untapped and underdeveloped. We’ve taken the decision that come what may, we are going to bring those resources to play. An integrated bauxite-aluminum development authority is going to be established in the next three months which is going to have a task of mobilizing the relevant resources to be able now to have an integrated aluminum industry in Ghana right from the exploitation of the raw bauxite up to the production of the aluminum products.’’.”…he noted.
This he said will create the opportunity for individuals to prosper and maintain a robust economy.
“We want to build economies that are self-reliant, have the capacity to compete and generate prosperity for our people…The attitude of the government is to begin to take Ghana beyond aid. We are required to have our own programme, our own analysis of how we can get out from poverty to prosperity”.
Officials records at the Minerals Commission indicate that barely 20 percent of Ghana’s entire mineral resources have been discovered and currently being exploited.
Millions of tonnes of bauxite have been mined at Awaso in the Western region but there is little to show in terms of employment and development in the catchments area.
The Volta Aluminum Company, VALCO which was purposely built to add value to the ingots has also been virtually shut down because of the shortfall in power generation and the high cost of Thermal power.
VALCO, the largest aluminum company in Ghana, was founded by Kaiser in 1961 but now wholly owned by the government of Ghana, with the smelter capacity of 200,000 metric tons per year of ingots’
After its shut-down in 2007 the company has since 2011 been producing 3000 tons per month, mostly for local consumption, with plans to activate a second pot-line to bring monthly production up to 6000.
Official records indicate that there is a proven reserve of 1.27 billion metric tonnes of iron ore at Sheini, 616 km north of the Northern regional capital Tamale, 150 million metric tonnes at Oppon Manso in the Western Region which was discovered as far back as 1963, and nearly five million metric tonnes at Pudo in the Upper West Region.
About 200 million metric tonnes of iron ore deposits have been discovered at Kibi in the Eastern region but that sits in a forest reserve and environmentalists fear exploiting it will seriously pollute the Birim River which is the main source of treated water for millions.
Government’s new policy for the use of bauxite is to stop export of raw bauxite and process ore into alumina, for use by local aluminum companies.