Efforts to promote efficient integrated iron, steel industry: Govt develops Master Plan… awaits cabinet approval for implementation

A master plan to guide the development of Ghana’s integrated iron and steel industry has been developed.

Currently undergoing validation, the master plan would support and anchor the implementation of government’s vision set out in the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) mandate.

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Minerals Commission, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Energy Commission, Ghana Grid Company, Forestry Commission, Ghana Railway Development Company and Ghana Geological Survey Authority are some of the institutions participating in the validation exercise.

When approved by Cabinet, it would contain clearly defined, stable and predictable trajectory for the industry to enable investors make informed decisions. 

At the validation workshop in Accra yesterday, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, said Ghana was endowed with huge potential for iron ore and base metals including copper, zinc, nickel, chrome and lead, and also holds vast deposits of industrial or development minerals, including sand, gravel, granite and salt, among others.

Presently, he noted thatthe country has more than 1.5 billion tonnes of iron ore with an average grade of 40 per cent iron oxide.

He stated that the draft master plan for the iron and steel was prepared taking into consideration best practices that pertained to the country’s peculiar circumstances in the exploration industry.

The GIISDEC, among others, he said, was required to manage the iron ore resources and in accordance with the relevant law, enter into joint venture agreements, promote an efficient integrated iron and steel industry.

In addition to facilitating the establishment of industrial parks, the Deputy Minister said the Corporation was expected to strategically partner with private sector entities to develop operations along the entire iron ore value chain.

Under the “Ghana Beyond Aid Agenda” and in response to key provisions of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) to move from raw exports of mineral resources to export of value added products, he said the country was adopting strategies to promote and optimise value development along the entire value chain of our iron ore resources in order to diversify the economy.

Mr Duker noted that it was government’s priority going forward to translate the volumes of minerals production into wealth to benefit all stakeholders equitably, through value addition and linkage development with the rest of the economy.

Board Chairman of GIIDEC, Farouk Aliu Mahama, said the Master plan would focus on four major areas in the industry including Mining, Refinery, Smelting and the Downstream which were critical to the achievement of a vibrant industry.

He said it was necessary for the industry to provide technical guidance and practical direction on every step on the way to develop the entire iron and steel value chain to boost the Ghanaian economy.

He noted that the Master plan would define the full scope of Ghana’s Integrated Iron and Steel Industry and provides the right steps to ensure the full utilisation of the iron ore reserves and its related value chain in the country.

“It uniquely underlines our over-riding goal of value addition which is at the core of what GIISDEC is all about. GIISDEC is a key component of government’s industralisation and transformation agenda,” Mr Mahama added.

The Master plan, he said, would enhance and enrich GIISDEC’s collaboration with all stakeholders to develop the needed infrastructure including Railway and Port Infrastructure to enable transportation of Iron, Steel and other bulk materials, adequate power, and best environmental practices.

He noted that the plan would further seek to address challenges including environmental concerns, transportation bottlenecks, high-energy intensive process of steel production and energy solutions which could impede the growth of the sector.

The key strategy of GIISDEC, he said, was to partner with the private sector to attract significant investment into the industry which was a critical area of the Ghanaian economy.

Chief Executive Officer of GIISDEC, Kwabena Bonsu Fordwor, said the 10 companies selected to undertake the assessment of tonnage, grade, and value of iron ore deposits in the Oti region, popularly known as Minerals Resource Estimation, would be given first right to refusal for iron ore exploration agreements.

He said the MRE, scheduled to commence in the coming days, would be completed between nine and 18 months.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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