Jinapor lauds progress of GIADEC’s project 4, VALCO modernisation

The Lands Minister says the development of Ghana’s integrated aluminium industry remains a priority for the government

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has reiterated the government’s commitment towards the modernisation of Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) to improve efficiency and increase its capacity and make it globally competitive.

Jinapor said the ministry is finalising a memo to cabinet for approval to proceed with the search for a strategic investor to partner with the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) in the modernisation and expansion of VALCO.

Addressing the press during a working visit to the smelter on Wednesday (9 February 2022), Jinapor noted that a retrofitted VALCO will play a significant role in the development of Ghana’s integrated aluminium industry (AIA).

He further noted that the development of an integrated aluminium industry for Ghana remains a government priority.

“We are fully committed to realising the vision of the president,” Jinapor said. “The instructions of the president could not have been clearer to us than they are now, and we are absolutely determined to work, as a ministry, with GIADEC and VALCO to ensure that we realise President Akufo-Addo’s vision of building an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana so that we can ramp up our industrialisation agenda.

“It is only through that that we can create the hundreds, thousands and millions of jobs that our population so need dearly,” he said.

Jinapor stressed that it will be a huge undertaking to develop an integrated aluminium industry and will require a collaborative effort and time to develop.

“We have to be very candid about the kind of task we have on our hands. It’s a very challenging one; it’s a really big undertaking. It’s not impossible, it’s not insurmountable, but it will take a lot for us to build, eventually, this integrated aluminium industry.

Signals are good

“What should be assuring to our countrymen and women is the fact that a framework has been established. Extraordinary work is being done on a daily basis, day and night, and the signals are looking very good,” he added.

He commended the management and board of GIADEC, which holds the Government of Ghana’s 100% share in VALCO, for their enormous contribution in positioning the aluminium smelter as a viable business venture that is beginning to attract new investment.

The chief executive officer of GIADEC, Michael Ansah, who joined the minister on his working visit to the wholly Ghanaian-owned smelter, emphasised that the modernisation and expansion of VALCO to increase its capacity, and to upgrade equipment to more efficient technology, is an integral element of GIADEC’s four projects for the IAI launched by President Akufo-Addo in September 2021.

“VALCO is very much at the core of GIADEC’s strategic plan to develop the entire value chain of the integrated aluminium industry,” said Ansah, “which is everything around bauxite mining, alumina refining and aluminium smelting and, ultimately, the development of downstream industries.

“We are actively engaged in making sure that we can partner with various companies to establish downstream industries to ensure that we can lock in the value of what we are doing.”

Ansah further noted that the timing of the development of Ghana’s integrated aluminium industry is favourable as there has been a significant rise in demand and prices for aluminium on the world market.

“The timing of what we are doing is right; the market is moving in our favour. The world market today is in deficit in terms of the supply of aluminium.

“China and other big markets are demanding aluminium and that’s what is accounting for the upward trend in pricing. With the deficit that is being forecast in the mid-2020s, it positions us to be in a strong place to drive this,” Ansah added.

For his part, the chief executive officer of VALCO, Daniel Acheampong, thanked GIADEC and the Government of Ghana for what he described as the “massive support and productive collaboration” between all stakeholders in the IAI value chain in recent years, which is beginning to bear fruit in VALCO’s operations.

Acheampong assured the minister and his delegation of VALCO’s readiness to play its part in the development of a fully operational IAI in Ghana.

Alumina into aluminium

The delegation from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and GIADEC was taken on a brief tour of VALCO to observe the processes involved in smelting alumina into aluminium.

The team also observed how the primary metal is poured from a molten state into moulds to produce a variety of forms such as sows, ingots, billets and slabs.

Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) is a wholly owned Ghanaian company, the largest such in West Africa. GIADEC holds a 100% share in the company on behalf of the Government of Ghana.

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