$450m manganese refinery set for Nsuta
A mining firm has firmed up a decision to construct the country’s first bauxite refinery at Nsuta in the Western Region.
Ghana Manganese Company Ltd (GMC) is undertaking the $450-million project in collaboration with its majority shareholder, Tanyun Manganese Industry Group (TMI), a Chinese company.
Already, feasibility studies have been completed, paving the way for the first phase of the refinery project to commence before the end of the year.
The Vice-President of TMI, Xu Libin, who disclosed this, said the green-field project was expected to be completed and operationalised within 12 months.
He made this known in Tianjin, China, last Friday when the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, held bilateral talks with some Chinese companies with investments in Ghana's mining industry at the 25th China Mining Conference.
The TMI delegation at the bilateral talks included the Managing Director of the GMC, Jurgen Eijgendaal.
The Ghanaian team included the Chairman of the Minerals Commission Board, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi; the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi; the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, Samuel Atta Akyea, and the Technical Advisor on Mines to the Minister, Benjamin Aryee.
Mr Libin explained that the decision to set up the refinery was to add value to manganese instead of exporting it in its raw form as has been over the decades.
In terms of its economic value, he said the refinery had an average annual sales revenue of about $1.3 billion, excluding tax, and an annual pre-tax income of $174.4 million.
Mr Labin added that the refinery project was estimated to create 360 new jobs, comprised of 330 production workers and 30 technical and management personnel.
In relation, he said, two power plants of 20 megawatts (MW) each would be built to support the operation of the refinery.
For his part, Mr Eijgendaal said the overarching goal of the refinery was to add value to the manganese value chain and make it more beneficial to the local economy.
"The world has changed and today there is a lot of emphasis on a greener world; so we need to create a situation that will make the mineral we are producing applicable to the green agenda," he said.
The Managing Director of Ghana Manganese added that the setting up of refineries to add value to manganese and other green minerals would contribute significantly to producing batteries that were needed for electric cars.
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister described the move by GMC and TMI to set up a refinery for manganese as a boost to the government's policy on value addition.
Mr Jinapor assured the company that the government would provide the required support to ensure that the project was delivered on time.
The minister called on other investors in the country’s value chain to prioritise value addition, especially to the green minerals.
He said it was because of the priority the government placed on value addition that the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GIISDEC) were established to facilitate the setting up of refineries for the refining of bauxite into alumina and to properly exploit the iron and steel industry.
Mr Jinapor stated that with global automotive giants such as the Chinese state-owned Sinotruk, Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen and Suzuki all setting up assembly plants in the country, green minerals such as lithium, bauxite, iron and steel would be critical to the automotive industry.
"Our objective is that as much as possible, we retain a substantial amount of value of these minerals in our country," the minister stressed.