Ghana to kickstart bauxite sector with $1.2bn investment

Aluminium smelter

GHANA has kickstarted plans to launch a bauxite industry after it picked Rocksure International to help it build a mine and smelter costing $1.2bn, said Bloomberg News.

The Accra-based company will own a 70% stake in the project and the state-owned Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) will have the remaining 30%,  said the newswire citing an e-mailed statement on Thursday.

Ghana’s bauxite reserves are estimated at 900 million tons, with the potential to produce 10 million to 20 million tons a year, according to the state company. Bauxite ore is refined into alumina and then smelted to produce aluminium.

GIADEC is looking to partner private companies to develop infrastructure worth as much as $6bn to leverage the West African nation’s bauxite. The $1.2bn project is one of four for which GIADEC is seeking investors, said Bloomberg.

The price of aluminium broke through $13,000 a ton for the first time in 13 years owing to bauxite supply concerns following a coup of Guinea on September 5. Low Chinese output added to the upward pressure on aluminium.

Coup leader Colonel Mamady Doumbouya said in a meeting with mining firms on Thursday that the military junta would honour existing contracts but he urged them to help alleviate poverty in the West African country.

“The country has undisputed mining potential, but the populations remain in visible poverty,” Doumbouya said. “We must work together to turn this curse into an opportunity to improve people’s living conditions.”

“We must accelerate the second phase of the value chain, such as the transformation of bauxite into alumina, and then into aluminium,” Doumbouya said in the speech.