The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has stated that the Ghana Bauxite Company, the oldest bauxite mining company in Ghana, is well positioned to become the anchor of Ghana’s integrated aluminium industry.
He said the company, which has been in existence for over 80years, can increase production through strategic partnership and investment to support the President’s vision of building an integrated aluminium industry to spur industrialisation and socio-economic development.
The Minister said this on Wednesday at the 27th edition of Fastmarkets Bauxite and Alumina Conference, held in Miami in the United States of America. The conference, held annually, is the largest bauxite conference in the world.
It brought together producers, miners, suppliers, analysts, refiners, and other experts in the bauxite, alumina and aluminium industry from across the world, to deliberate on emerging issues in the bauxite and aluminium industry.
The Lands Minister said Ghana Bauxite Company produces premium trihydrate bauxite with typical alumina content of 52 per cent, which makes its products very competitive on the international market.
Mr Jinapor indicated that Ghana has the capacity to produce over ten million metric tonnes of bauxite annually, but is currently producing just a little over one million metric tonnes.
According to him, the low production is largely due to lack of investment in the Company over the years.
The Ghana Bauxite Company has, since its establishment, been controlled by foreigners, until 2021 when Ofori-Poku Company Limited (OPCL), acquired the 80% shares of the company previously held by a Chinese company, Bosai.
The remaining 20 per cent shares of the company is held by Government, through the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), making the Company wholly Ghanaian-owned.
Mr. Jinapor said the current management of the company, led by Mr. Isaac Ofori-Poku, the Executive Chairman, had made huge investments in the company since the take-over. That, he added, had brought efficiency into the company and returned it to profitability.
He said the company currently requires about US$120,000,000.00 to retool its existing plant and machinery, to produce a minimum of 5,000,000Mt annually.
In addition to increasing production, Mr Jinapor said, the company plans to construct a 1.6 million Mt per annum capacity refinery, to refine part of the bauxite it mines.
This, the Minister said, will become the fulcrum of the integrated aluminium industry, with the company mining and refining bauxite to supply the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) with alumina to smelt into aluminium for the downstream industry.
He called on the investor community to partner with Ghana Bauxite Company to realise its full potential, saying “the profitability of Ghana Bauxite Company is not in doubt, and promises good returns on investment”.
Mr. Jinapor stressed the need to build an integrated aluminium industry in the country. He pointed out that of the over US$180,000,000,000.00 aluminium industry market, only 7.66 is generated from raw bauxite, while the rest is generated from processed bauxite.
He stressed that it is not enough to mine and export Ghana’s bauxite “if we are to derive optimal benefit from the mineral”. He said, in accordance with its mandate to promote and develop an integrated industry, GIADEC is implementing a four-project agenda.
The project plan, he explained, is aimed at expanding the existing bauxite mine and add a refinery solution, developing three additional mines together with refineries, and modernising and retrofitting VALCO, to smelt alumina produced in Ghana.
He said the three new mines, together with the existing one operated by the Ghana Bauxite Company, are expected to produce ten to twenty million tonnes of bauxite annually, of which approximately half will be refined in Ghana.