Aluworks Limited, manufacturers and exporters of semi-finished aluminium products, has presented a petition to the government for import tariffs to be slapped on imported aluminium products into the country.
Board Chairman Mr William E. Inkumsah who dropped the hint explained that the proposal was to ensure the survival of the aluminium industry vis-a-vis cheap imports from especially China, which had flooded the home market and that of West Africa.
Speaking after a tour of the newly installed coil coating line on the company's premises, Mr Inkumsah said the government was studying the proposal and was hopeful that it would consider the request to place tariffs on imported aluminium coils into the country.
He said the closure of Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) had posed tremendous challenges to the company, which now had to import aluminium ingots from South Africa, India and other places at a very high cost.
“But for the VALCO closure, we would have been very competitive”, the board chairman stated, adding that presently the company had to melt the imported aluminium ingots at huge cost, which was not the case when VALCO was in operation.
Aluworks had a pipeline connected to VALCO where its raw material, the alumna flowed through the factory and was processed into semi-finished products.
VALCO was shut down at the height of the energy crisis that the country faced last year after nearly a year of power cuts.
Sources close to the industry hinted that ALCOA, the partner to the government had packed bag and baggage and left the country following the closure of VALCO.
According to Mr Inkumsah, Nigeria also faced a similar situation when cheap aluminium products nearly caused the collapse of the industry, but for the timely intervention of the government which placed 25 per cent tariffs on aluminium imports.
He said he was optimistic that the government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry would heed to the call to ensure the survival of the industry.
Aluworks offers opportunities for downstream industries in the aluminium industry that employs over 600 people.
The company exports most of its products to neighbouring countries, mainly Nigeria, and recently Burkina Faso and Togo.
The company has recently completed the installation of a 20,000 tonne coil coating plant in a bid to diversify its products and add value to its aluminium products.
The $6.5 million continuous coil coating line, the first of its kind in the country, would offer opportunities for downstream industries in areas such as roofing sheets, ceiling tiles and window blinds.
It will also meet the local demand as well as the export market, especially within the West African sub-region.
In addition to the new plant, the company had also embarked on an additional 30,000 metric tonnes per year Cold Rolling Mill in response to the rising demand for the aluminium products.
Last year, the company signed a $12.5 million contract with Fata Hunter, division of FATA S.p.A of Italy for the supply of a 30,000 metric tonnes per year capacity Cold Rolling Mill.
The new mill is expected to be completed by December, this year, which will complement the old mill.
— Stor by Boahene Asamoah