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19.03.2007 Business & Finance

Aluworks To Keep Normal Production

The management of Aluworks Limited have assured the public of its efforts at ensuring the normal production of aluminium coils, sheets and hollowware, in the light of the suspension of operations by Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO).

A statement issued by the management, said that enquiries made by Aluworks had resulted in “definitive arrangements to import metal.”

It added that it could take some months to return the company's metal supply to normalcy, but added that “in the meantime we are making the best use of available metal to service our customers.”

The statement explained that from August 2006, when the power rationing exercises started, VALCO which supplies it with primary aluminium, reduced its supplies to about 20 per cent.

That compelled it (Aluworks) to reduce supplied to about 125 local downstream industries using its coils, sheets and hollowware for tanks, electric poles and louvre windows.

The statement said on February 28, 2007, VALCO notified Aluworks of its imminent closure on account of insufficient power production by the Volta River Authority (VRA) and had since not supplied any power to Aluworks.

It added that following the initial reduction in the supplies by VALCO, Aluworks began enquiries into the importation of metal for its use that had now resulted in the use of imported material.

The statement said Aluworks was in discussion with the management of VALCO for the release of stocks, if there were any, to meet the requirements of local industries.

It promised all customers that every effort was being made to ensure continuous production at the plant.

Meanwhile some aluminium companies in Tema are anticipating a shortage of raw materials following the shut down of the Volta Aluminium Company.

A survey conducted by the Daily Graphic indicated that the shut down of VALCO would impact negatively on the production of most aluminium companies.

The Commercial Manager of the Pioneer Kitchenware Limited (PKL), Mr Kojo Safo, said the company would have to import raw materials for the production of cooking utensils which formed the bulk of their products.

He said the company currently produced at a capacity of 2,400 metric tonnes annually, representing 40 per cent of installed capacity but disclosed that production was likely to reduce.

Mr Safo stated that if the situation persisted over a period, the company would be compelled to enter the international market, especially China, Asia or India to source for their raw materials.

He said the end result would affect production cost and this would be passed on to the consumer.

The Volta Aluminium Company suspended its operations following inadequate power supply from the Akosombo Dam, and over 500 workers were reported to have been laid off while a skeletal staff of 200 remained to maintain the plant.