President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has explained that the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), was strategically established to add value to the country’s raw bauxite resources.
This, he said was to do away with the export of raw bauxite from the country as well as help develop a complete value chain for the resource.
Nana Akufo-Addo disclosed this at the opening of a two-day Natural Resource Stakeholders’ Dialogue organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in Accra on Thursday.
The dialogue was on the theme: ‘Harnessing our Natural Resources Responsibly for our Sustainable Collective Good’ and aimed at generating stakeholder discussions on policy suggestions that could be implemented to arrest the phenomenon of illegal mining and logging in the country.
The President asserted that Ghana, over the years had not done well in negotiating well when it comes to its vast mineral resources.
“Ghana has not always done well in negotiations with the countries that exploit her natural resources” and that among other things such as “corruption, incompetence and political instability, the nation has mostly been short-sighted in these negotiations, thus, end up settling for less,” he emphasised.
In addition he said “the country has until recently, failed to put in place the requisite framework which will enable us to establish highest ends of the value chains of the extractive industry. Extensive tax and royalties’ exemptions, intolerable labour practices, and lack of value addition in the country has resulted in exceptional profits to mining companies at the expense of our communities, towns, cities and country. We cannot repeat these mistakes.”
Nana Akufo-Addo said even though it was legitimate for mining companies to make profit out of their businesses, it was important that this was not done at the expense of lands and the peoples that provided these resources.
“For several years, the extractive sector has been the largest tax base of our country apart from providing thousands of employment to several young men and women. The truth, however, is that over the years, we have not benefited optimally from these resources due to our overdependence on the export of raw products,” he added.
Nana Akufo-Addo said it was important to come to terms with the fact that the real value of natural resources laid in value addition.
“The value of the global aluminium industry, for example, from bauxite mining through alumina smelting and alumina production, is estimated to be in excess of one hundred and eighty billion United States dollars annually.
But raw bauxite accounts for only 7.6 per cent of this market, while the remaining 92.3 per cent is generated from processed bauxite. This case is not different from those of gold, iron ore, manganese, cobalt, or lithium. Indeed, currently, African countries involved in the production of lithium are set to be making just about 10 per cent of the entire value chain of the electric battery industry.
This is why government has prioritised local content and local participation as well as value addition in the natural resources sector to ensure that we derive optimal benefits from these God-given resources,” he stressed.
President Akufo-Addo noted that “through the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), established in 2018, we are working to ensure value-addition in our bauxite resources through refining, smelting, aluminium production, as well as production of other downstream aluminium products.”
By section 28 of the GIADEC law, and section 30 of the GISDEC law, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources is empowered to make regulations to ensure that no bauxite or iron ore in their raw state is exported out of the country after five years of the coming into force of these laws,” he emphasised.
The Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), commenced operations in 2019, and the corporation is working to ensure value addition across the full value chain of aluminium production.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL