Ghana is set to establish its first bauxite refinery to process raw bauxite into aluminum products.
In this connection, the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) has signed an agreement with a strategic partner.
The partner, Rocksure International is a wholly owned Ghanaian Company which operates across Ghana and the West African sub-region with expertise in mining services, drilling services, load and haulage.
As part of the agreement, Rocksure is expected to develop a new bauxite mine within the next 24 months at Nyinahin-Mpasaaso in the Ashanti Region as well as a refinery to process the raw bauxite into alumina over the same period as part of the Project Two of the four phase development of an Integrated Aluminium Industry (IAI) in the country.
The selection of Rocksure followed three rounds of investor round in 2019 which saw about 39 companies participate and through competitive bidding.
The signing of the contract marks a major breakthrough in the country’s quest to develop an IAI, after proving elusive for more than six decades.
At a signing ceremony in Accra on Tuesday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GIADEC, Mr Michael Ansah explained that the Rocksure’s contract was one out of four projects being rolled out to achieve the IAI.
The project he said was estimated to contain 390 million metric tonnes of bauxite and the government through GIADEC would own 30 per cent shares after its development.
Mr Ansah said the Nyinahin-Mpasaaso project would see to the production of five million tonnes of bauxite per annum with the capacity to create more than 1,000 direct jobs.
He said the GIADEC had adopted a two-pronged implementation strategy which involves investing to revamp and expand the existing businesses – the mine at Awaso, and the smelter at Tema – to ensure these are aligned with development agenda.
In addition, he said the second strategy focused on attracting investments to develop new mines at Kyebi and Nyinahin, and to build refineries to ensure that bauxite mined in Ghana is refined in Ghana to produce alumina for use in smelter to produce aluminium for local market and for export.
Outlining the work done since GIADEC was set up which had culminated in securing an investor for Project Two, he said management invested in qualifying historical data to verify and understand the quality and quantity of bauxite resources.
Mr Ansah said GIADEC had promoted an integrated approach to develop a master plan and establish working groups focused on four areas critical to success.
Mr Ansah noted that the four projects together would require private sector-led investments of up to $6 billion, making it one of the most ambitious and audacious industrial development programmes since independence.
He said it was anticipated that mining operations, after preliminary works and studies, would commence within the next 24 months.
Similarly, he stated that the development of a refinery solution would commence in tandem with construction timeline estimated at four years.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, in his opening remarks, said the much-needed development cannot happen without industrialisation and thus, the interest of the automotive manufacturers in the country makes the integrated aluminium industry more imperative.
He said his ministry was poised at ensuring that the exploitation of the mineral resources is done in a responsible manner.
He added that his ministry had started an aggressive afforestation programme to restore the lost forest cover and continue to wage a relentless war on illegal mining.
It is estimated that there are 900 million tonnes of bauxite minerals across three main locations in Ghana, namely Awaso in the Western Region – 60 million, Nyinahin in the Ashanti Region – 700 million and Kibi in the Eastern Region – 160 million.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL & YAW KYEI