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General News of Saturday, 29 August 2020

Source: Philip Aqcuaye, Contributor

Lands Minister charges Valco Board and GIADEC to transorm sector

The new six member board of directors are to steer the revamping agenda of VALCO The new six member board of directors are to steer the revamping agenda of VALCO

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh has charged the newly constituted governing board of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), to drive an agenda that will set the company as the fulcrum of the full development of an integrated aluminium industry supervised by the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Corporation (GIADEC).

The minister made the statement when he sworn in a six-member board of directors with well accomplished backgrounds in the fields of energy, economics and industrialization, for a four-year term to steer the revamping agenda of the Volta Aluminium Company under GIADEC.

The minister was visibly elated that, GIADEC and the Ministry have been able to put together a board for VALCO, a company that has been without a board for a long period and seen a steep downward trend of development. He was hopeful that the new board with the support of GIADEC, will overcome the myriad of challenges VALCO has been faced with, to effectively implement a new recovery plan that will see optimization of the company’s full capacity.

“ In spite of the challenges, VALCO remains a strategic Ghanaian asset that is considered a major corner stone of the Integrated Aluminium Industry in Ghana. GIADEC, in partnership with the management of VALCO has deployed a Recovery Plan with the aim of retrofitting the plant so that it can produce at its full capacity of 200,000 tonnes per annum and expand by an additional 100,000 tonnes p.a., he said.

Hon. Asomah-Cheremeh further urged the board and the management of GIADEC who were present at the swearing-in ceremony to give practical meaning to the President’s Growth and transformation Agenda for the Ghanaian economy, ‘The Ghana Beyond Aid’ Agenda, by leveraging on Ghana’s existing Bauxite reserves and the smeltering of aluminium to make the Ghanaian economy an enviable one. He reminded both teams especially the CEO of GIADEC who is also a member of VALCO’s board, that this is the reason for which GIADEC has been set up.

He hoped to see in a few years, the creation of over thirty-five thousand jobs and a major contribution to the Gross Domestic Product. “It is expected that Ghana’s IAI will lead to the creation of over 35,000 new jobs (10,000 direct and 25,000 indirect). It is also expected that there will be an annual boost to the economy of about $10 billion. The $10 billion boost will be achieved through mining, refining and smelting (approx. $2-3 billion) in addition to contributions from the downstream and allied industries” he said.

According to the minister, it is expected that Ghana would be ranked 8th in the world for bauxite reserves (after China and above India) with expected annual production of 10-20 million tonnes.

Board Chairman of the Volta Aluminium Company Dr Henry Benyah, thanked the president of Ghana, the minister and GIADEC for the confidence reposed in him and his team of Directors in especially retrofitting and revamping what is almost becoming a white elephant. He assured of the team’s commitment in reviving the Company to lead GIADEC’s vision of establishing viable industry, that is relevant in the whole value chain and pivot to Ghana’s industrialization programs. The board chair was emphatic that they will see to the actual retrofitting of the VALCO plant over the next five years to enable the required or expanded production capacity of three hundred thousand (300, 000) metric tonnes.

The Chief Executive Officer of GIADEC, Mr Michael Ansah who is also a board member of VALCO was happy that GIADEC’s plan of restructuring, reforming and expanding the bauxite and aluminium industry is fully on course, and a typical example is the witnessing of the inauguration of a governing board for VALCO.

Responding to questions on the mounting concerns over bauxite exploitation in Ghana, regarding the Sinohydro Agreement which is to see the Chinese company finance some government capital projects with Ghana paying back with proceeds of refined Bauxite, Mr Ansah explained that the deal is a result of a positive well thought out developmental decision that will benefit and develop Ghana as a whole rather than benefitting a few.

"We've had bauxite since this country has existed. We have close to a billion tonnes of bauxite. We've not exploited this fully. We have only one mine in Awaso today. We are looking at exploiting the full resource that we have in Nyihahin today and kyebi as well and this would give us the beginnings of a mining industry that can support a viable refinery that would feed the smelter that we have" he said.

Members of the inaugurated board include Dr Henry Benyah as the Board Chair, Mr Daniel Acheampong (member), Dr. Gloria Naa Dzama Addico (member), Hon. Samuel Evans Ashong Narh(member), Mr Seth Adjete Adjei(member), and Mr Michael Ansah (member).

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