Plans to revamp the once vibrant Volta Aluminium Company are underway as the Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) has deployed a five-year recovery plan to get the smelter back on its feet, Mr. Michael Ansah, hinted at a swearing-in ceremony of the VALCO Board by the Minster for Lands and Natural Resources Kwaku Asomah Kyeremeh.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of GIADEC, retrofitting the plant will take between three to five years and it will be done in two phases to enable the aluminium smelter produce first, at its full capacity of 200,000 tonnes per annum, and a further 100,000 after retrofit.
He said “the first phase will deliver 170,000 tonnes while the second phase will produce 120,000 tonnes, adding that the first will begin as soon as strategic partners are selected, hopefully by the end of the year.
The Volta Alumiumium Company limited (Valco) established in 1967 with the aim of adding value to Ghana’s bauxite deposits is currently on its knees as only two out of its ten production lines are running at extremely low levels. The company is currently a subsidiary of GIADEC.
Mr. Ansah noted that the “initial part of the recovery plan is to arrest the situation in the business now, make sure that it is standing on firm grounds that the current operations can run through the current difficulties before driving the retrofit’. The ultimate aim is to make VALCO a viable anchor of Ghana’s Integrated Aluminium Industry.
MOUNTING CONCERNS OVER BAUXITE EXPLOITATION
Ghana currently has entered into a $2 billion proceeds from bauxite for infrastructure agreement with Asian giant Sinohydro company. The deal is to see the Chinese company finance much of Government’s capital projects with Ghana paying back the cost with proceeds from its sale of refined bauxite amid concerns from environmentalist and critics. However the CEO of GIADEC insists the objective of the deal is to use bauxite to develop the nation.
“We’ve had bauxite since this country has existed. We have close to a billion tonnes of bauxite. We’ve not exploited this fully. We have only one mine in Awaso today. We are looking at exploiting the full resource that we have in Nyihahin today and kyebi as well and this would give us the beginnings of a mining industry that can support a viable refinery that would feed the smelter that we have” he said.
INAUGURATION OF BOARD
Minister for lands and Natural resources Kwaku Asomah Kyeremeh has inaugurated a six member board to steer the affairs of the volta aluminum company and drive the new vision of the company.
Members include Dr Henry Benyah, Board Chair, and Mr Daniel Acheampong, Dr. Gloria Naa Dzama Addico, Samuel Evans Ashong Narh, Mr Seth Adjete Adjei, And Mr Michael Ansah as members.
At the ceremony the minister said despite the challenges, VALCO remains a strategic Ghanaian asset that is considered a major cornerstone of the integrated industry in Ghana. He charged the newly sworn members to work hard to transform the phase of the company.
Board chairman of VALCO Dr. Henry Benyah said their appointment marks the beginning new things to come.