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Ghana lacks processing capacity to soon ban raw minerals export

Ghana lacks processing capacity to soon ban export of raw minerals such as bauxite and iron ore and hinted by President Nana Akufo-Addo

The country’s intention to ban export of bauxite and iron ore in their raw state has been made clear in the laws governing the two minerals.

Section 28 of Act 976 of 2018, the law establishing Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) and section 30 of Act 988 of 2019, the law establishing Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) empower the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to ban the export of raw bauxite and iron ore after five years of the coming into force of these laws.

The vision is for private investors to work towards establishing the full value chain of an Integrated Aluminum Industry in Ghana, which will ensure the mining of bauxite, refining bauxite into alumina and smelting alumina into aluminum, all within Ghana

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s reiterated this position in Accra at a recent forum on natural resources.

“With the policies and measures we are putting in place, we intend to invoke these provisions of our law and soon, bauxite and iron ore will no longer be exported in their raw state from the country.

“We will ensure that the highest level of these minerals is maintained in our country,” Akufo-Addo said.

President Akufo-Addo with his vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ identified industrialisation as a major pillar; with an Integrated Aluminium Industry as one of the strategic anchor industries to lead the industrialisation drive.

The GIADEC law is in its fifth year while the GIISDEC law is in its fourth year.

It important to point out that the Legislative Instrument (LI) required to operationalize these laws are yet to be submitted to parliament for consideration and possible approval.

Information available to indicates that the Attorney General’s Department is working on a draft LI which will be submitted to cabinet for approval and onward transfer to parliament.

Even if the pending LI’s are passed into law this year, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources will not be able to ban the export of raw minerals.

This is because currently, Ghana lacks processing to add value to all the bauxite produced in the country while iron ore production is yet to commence.

GIADEC’s plan to retrofit Volta Aluminum Company from current 50,000 metric tonnes into 300,000 metric tonnes capacity of alumina processing annually is now seeking investors buy in.

The new outlook for Ghana Bauxite Company (GBC), in the short to medium term, is to ramp up production from one million tonnes per annum to two million per annum.

It means a retrofitted VALCO can only process 30% of current production.

GIADEC’s project three includes a refinery but the company is yet to start minerals estimates which must be completed before any form of construction will commence.

Rocksure International Limited has completed Mineral Resource Estimation (MRE) works at Nyinahin Block B and the report will be ready shortly.

The plan is to increase production of bauxite from one million metric tonnes per annum to five million metric tonnes per annum.

A 400kg gold refinery has been established through a public private partnership, while steps were being taken to secure a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Certification.

This one too is obviously not big enough to process all the gold produced in Ghana.

Mining of iron ore is also yet to start as GIISDEC has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a company to undertake mineral resource estimate in Oti Region.

Until such a time that all GIADEC, GIISDEC projects are fully operational with enough processing capacity, banning export of raw minerals like bauxite will be inimical to Ghana.

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