President Kufuor tours bauxite plant in Jamaica
Accra, July 12, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor is leading a Government delegation on a tour of bauxite plant in Jamaica to learn more about the latest technology and economics of the bauxite industry. Jamaica's bauxite deposits are one of the largest in the world with an annual production of about 17 tonnes.
A statement issued by the Office of the Press Secretary to the President in Accra on Tuesday said, "the President's vision for the industry includes growth of the mining component, refining of aluminium, aluminium production and upgrading in the country's rail infrastructure."
It said other members of the delegation were, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Daniel K. Osei, Secretary to the President and Dr Charles Mensa, Resident Director of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO).
In line with the Government's vision for an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana, in January this year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Ghana and Aluminium Company of America (AlCOA). ALCOA is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminium, fabricated aluminium and alumina facilities and the MOU is to develop an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana.
Papa Owusu Ankomah, Minister of the Interior then Acting Attorney-General and Minister of Justice signed for Ghana, while Mr Bernt Reitan, Executive Vice President of Alcoa and President of Alcoa's Primary Aluminium Division signed for the Company. With the signing of the MOU, AlCOA is expected to work with the Government to conduct expedited feasibility studies to be completed in 2006. VALCO is expecting a 30 million-dollar grant from the (ALCOA) for the purchase of raw materials and some equipment to start operations this month.
About two billion dollars' investment over a three-year period in Ghana is needed to build an aluminium refinery and operate a bauxite mine as well as the construction of a railway line from Kibi to Tema to facilitate the mining of bauxite.
The project is expected to employ over 3,500 people and a further 1,500 will be needed to keep it running after completion. Parliament on Thursday, October 28, 2004, approved an agreement between Ghana and Kaiser Aluminium and Chemical Corporation for the sale and purchase of VALCO for 18 million dollars.
The Government currently owns 90 per cent of the smelter with AlCOA owning the remaining 10 per cent.