Developing integrated aluminium industry - We must succeed this time!

BY: Editorial
Developing integrated aluminium industry - We must succeed this time!
Developing integrated aluminium industry - We must succeed this time!

In our bid to enhance opportunities for job creation and employment in the country, the need to develop the aluminium industry in Ghana cannot be overemphasised.

Countries that have succeeded at this effort, including Australia and China, are reaping the desired benefits from their foresight and focus.

This is why the current attempt by the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) at developing an integrated aluminium industry (IAI) is a laudable aspiration that must be given the desired push to succeed.

There should be no room whatsoever, for failure.

We at the Daily Graphic are encouraged by the progress so far and the promise this bold, recent undertaking holds for the nation, its people and the future.

Bauxite mining, along with the operations of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), cannot be said to be any new development in Ghana.

Needless to say, while, as a nation, we have, in the past, happily touted the contribution of these enterprises to national development, it has not been lost on us that the deliverables have lagged far behind the expectations.

And at the core of the failure to derive maximum benefits from our bauxite has been the absence of a sustained, integrated approach to developing the bauxite industry in the country.

As the keyword readily suggests, an integrated approach is a prerequisite to sustainable development, given the need for the interplay of the variety of industrial sectors, including mining, energy, refinery, manufacturing, trade and transport.

As the Chief Executive Officer of the GIADEC, Michael Ansah, put it during a recent visit to the offices of the Daily Graphic (see lead story of the Tuesday, August 16 edition of the Daily Graphic), we could only be deliberate about what we seek to achieve with our current push, and the larger vision should see to the development of an enduring industry beyond the life of any government.

This is a monumental aspiration to transform the national economy and the benefits can clearly be envisioned along the value chain - among them the long-held desire to industrialise, which can manifest in the creation of thousands of jobs by manufacturing companies relying on ingots in the downstream aluminium industry.

The plan to break down the current attempt at developing an integrated industry into clearly defined projects (four in all) is equally laudable, as it allows for a coordinated focus on what needs to be done at every stage.

It is equally a good plan for the $6bn investments required to realise the dream.

According to the plan, Project 1 will see to the expansion of the existing mine at Awaso and the building of a refinery.

Project 2 is for the development of a mine at Nyinahin-Mpasaaso and a refinery solution, with Project 3 being the development of a mine at Kyebi, a second mine at Nyinahin-Mpasaaso and the building of a refinery, and finally Project 4, which is the modernisation and expansion of the VALCO smelter to improve efficiency and increase capacity.

All the projects are at various stages of progress, and as we had observed earlier, this is not the first time the nation is at this.

What is new, this time around, is the desired focused attention being paid to the dream to make it a reality.

We, therefore, urge managers of this epoch-making enterprise to continue to refine the plans and make the integrated aluminium industry a real game changer in the country’s quest to industrialise and give its teeming youth jobs and hope for the future.