Ghana plans to expand the annual production capacity of Volta Aluminium Company (Valco) to 300,000mt by partnering with a domestic or international company. The smelter is at the center of Ghana’s integrated aluminium industry project.
Valco is a state-owned company with an installed capacity to process 200,000mt of primary aluminium, annually, but the plant is operating at 20pc utilization rate as five of its potlines are offline, according to local media. The smelter’s current annual output is 60,000mt. Valco engages in the production of rolling ingots, sows, pigs and extrusion billets. The company supplies hot metal to the local market and exports value-added products like extrusion billets and ingots.
Despite Ghana’s huge bauxite deposits, Valco imports alumina for production of aluminium as there is no bauxite refinery in the country. In 2018, Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) was established to create and develop an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana. GIADEC plans to partner with a strategic investor for a five-year period with a $10bn recovery plan for Valco and the country’s developing mining sector.
GIADEC aims to process bauxite reserves at Nyinahin and Kibi and Eastern Regions at its integrated aluminium Industry and develop a aluminium value chain with Valco’s smelter supplying primary aluminium for the downstream industries housed in the industrial complex. The first phase of the Valco’s expansion project would increase its annual production to 180,000mt and at the end of the second phase it would reach 300,000mt.
Beside Valco’s expansion GIADEC intends to award up to four mining concessions; one at Awaso and Kyebi, and two at Nyinahin, two or three new refineries with a combined annual capacity of processing 2mn mt alumina and building a new 500,000mt aluminium smelter.
The partnership deal could be finalised by the end of 2020, following which there are plans to list Valco on the London Stock Exchange. Around 40 domestic and international companies have expressed interest in the project.
Ghana has the second largest bauxite reserve in Africa and is a major exporter of bauxite. China has shown keen interest in the development of Ghana’s bauxite reserves and infrastructure. The two countries have entered $19bn loan agreement which includes grants for economic cooperation program, and a $2bn bauxite barter deal for exchange of building infrastructure such as road networks. Chinese company Bosai Minerals Group is jointly owns Awaso bauxite with GIADEC, which produces 1mn mt bauxite annually for exports. Earlier, Ghana had sought African Development bank’s investment for its integrated aluminium project.