Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-cheremeh, has sworn in members of the governing board of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO).
The six-members board is chaired by Dr. Henry Benyah.
Other members of the Board include: Daniel Acheampong, Gloria Naa Dzama Addico, Samuel Evans Ashong, Seth Adjete Adjei, Michael Ansah.
Delivering his inaugural speech on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, Mr. Asomah-cheremeh described
the swearing in of the board members as one of the stepping stones for achieving Government’s agenda of an integrated bauxite-aluminium industry in Ghana.
According to him, the idea of an Integrated Aluminium Industry in Ghana is one that has being nurtured by Government for a long time and is what led, in 1948, to the establishment of VALCO.
Indeed, he stated, it is on the back of this goal that Ghana’s first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah got Kaiser Aluminium to building the Akosombo Dam in 1961, with the smelter providing assured offtake.
“The exploitation the country’s bauxite resources to serve as feed stock, through an alumina refinery, for the smelter. Unfortunately, this never happened in spite of a number of attempts,” he added.
However, according to him, with clear focus on accelerating our industrial development and transformation, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in 2017 shared his vision for the economy, by stating his aspiration for – “A Ghana that is prosperous enough to stand on its own two feet; a Ghana that is beyond dependence on the charity of others to cater for the needs of its people, but instead engages with other countries competitively through trade and investments and through political cooperation for enhanced regional and global peace and security. A Ghana beyond Aid.”
Pursuant to this objective, the Minister indicated that the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) was established through an Act of Parliament in 2018.
The Corporation seeks to leverage on Ghana’s existing bauxite reserves and allied aluminium assets, notably VALCO, to drive the full commercial exploitation of the country’s bauxite reserves, and add value through refining bauxite into Alumina, and smelting Alumina to produce Aluminium, whilst encouraging the development of further downstream industries, he recounted.
“In spite of the challenges, VALCO remains a strategic Ghanaian asset that is considered a major corner stone of the Integrated Aluminium Industry in Ghana. GIADEC, in partnership with the management of VALCO has deployed a Recovery Plan with the aim of retrofitting the plant so that it can produce at its full capacity of 200,000 tonnes per annum and further expand it by an additional 100,000 tonnes per annum.”
” The multiplier effect of the smelter is immense and should not be underestimated and includes direct and indirect job creation as well as a vibrant downstream sector.”
“Let me emphasize that the aluminium industry is, traditionally, a strategic industry contributing significantly to the manufacturing sector of many key economies, including the United States of America, China, India and several European countries.
The U.S. aluminium industry, for instance, supports more than 692,000 jobs and nearly 174 billion United States dollars in economic output.”
“Again, over the last twenty years, Brazil, Russia, India and China previously known as emerging economies have developed rapidly on the back of their aluminium industries.”
He added that these countries were producing about a third of global production.
“Today, they contribute about 70% of global primary aluminium production and boast of some of the world’s biggest aluminium companies including Chalco, Rusal and Hindalco.”
The establishment of an Integrated Aluminum Industry (IAI) in Ghana is opportune and is in line with continuous efforts aimed at further strengthening the capacity of Aluminum industry supply chain, according to him.
Through partnerships with strategic investors, it is expected to establish three (3) new bauxite mines and, at least, two (2) refineries in addition to Ghana’s existing smelter, Volta Aluminium Company Limited.
It is expected that Ghana’s IAI will lead to the creation of over 35,000 new jobs (10,000 direct and 25,000 indirect), he said.
” It is also expected that there will be an annual boost to the economy of about $10 billion.
The $10 billion boost will be achieved through mining, refining and smelting (approx. $2-3 billion) in addition to contributions from the downstream and allied industries.”
“I am aware that the task ahead of you, as members of the newly sworn-in Board, is a challenging one and it is my expectation and hope that you will be up to that challenge and an Integrated Aluminium Industry will no longer be a dream.”