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14.07.2005 Business & Finance

Kufuor urges VALCO and ALCOA to speed up negotiations


Accra, July 14, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor has appealed to the Managements of Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) and Aluminium Company of America (ALCOA) to speed up negotiations towards the establishment of a viable bauxite industry in Ghana.

He said: "ALCOA is already studying feasibility reports conducted on bauxite deposits at Kyebi and Nyinahin under the VALCO/ALCOA co-operation, I will, therefore, urge the parties involved to accelerate the pace towards the establishment of a viable bauxite industry in Ghana."

A statement issued by the Office of the Press Secretary to the President in Accra on Tuesday said President Kufuor made the appeal while on a familiarization tour of the Jamaica Aluminium Company (JAMALCO) at Clarendon as part of his three-day official visit to Jamaica. JAMALCO is an ALCOA-Jamaica Government establishment.

"Impressed with the progressive environmental policies of JAMALCO, President Kufuor said, he looked forward to a similar experience at the dawn of ALCOA's bauxite plant in Ghana, " the statement said. The negotiations would include growth of the mining component, refining of aluminium, aluminium production and upgrading in the country's rail infrastructure.

VALCO is expecting a 30 million-dollar grant from (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 more than 3,500 people and a further 1,500 would be needed to keep it running after completion. Other members of President Kufuor's entourage 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). JAMALCO began operations in bauxite mining in 1959.