Ghana to Ban Export of Raw Minerals

Following in the footsteps of other countries, Ghana plans to ban the export of its unprocessed minerals, namely iron ore and bauxite. In a statement, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo explained that Ghana must learn from “past mistake in gold.”

Currently, Ghana accounts for 0.3% of global bauxite production and is ranked as the 11th largest producer of bauxite. The reserves of bauxite in Ghana is estimated to be about 900 million tonnes. Based on statistics compiled, Ghana bauxite exports surged by 31% to 61 kT in 2022 compared to 2021. Ironically, Ghana has to import 45,000 tonnes of aluminum products annually.

On the other hand, Ghana’s iron ore reserves are estimated to be about six billion tonnes. No significant mining operations is ongoing so far but projects are in the pipeline.

In a bid to promote Local Value Addition (#LVA), the government created two statutory corporations, viz, Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) and Ghana Integrated Iron & Steel Development Corporation (GISSDEC).

To this day, the bauxite from Ghana is exported mainly to Canada and Scotland. Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) is the only local smelter in Ghana. VALCO imports mostly alumina (refined bauxite) from USA and Jamaica. The aluminum is then passed on to Aluworks which transforms the aluminum bars into finished products.

VALCO has had a rocky trajectory. It nearly closed and was resuscitated. Now, the government is looking for a strategic to provide both financial and technical support to transform it into a state-of-the-art aluminum smelter.

In 2021, Rockssure International partnered with GIADEC in a JV to build a refinery to the tune of USD 1.2 billion. The locally produced aluminum would be for import substitution with excess to be exported in the region.