About 14 companies have been shortlisted to participate in the bidding process for the development of the country's integrated aluminium industry, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), Mr Michael Ansah has announced.
According to him the 14 were part of an initial 40 companies that expressed interest in the development processes and would be taken through a final assessment process to select those fit for purpose.
"There is an ongoing process where over 40 companies- both Ghanaian and International expressed interest in bidding to be selected to develop various aspects of the aluminium value chain and currently between 12 and 14 companies have been shortlisted," he said.
Mr Ansah disclosed this at a media briefing held here in Accra yesterday.
He said by the close of April next year, a number of companies out of the 14 shortlisted, would be selected to develop various aspects of the industry.
"In the future, GIADEC envisages up to four mines producing a combined total of 10-20million tonnes of bauxite a year. The intention is to transport this by rail to the refinery and for bauxite to be refined in the country.
Mr Ansah explained that as part of GIADEC's framework, it would assume Government of Ghana (GoG)'s full interest across the value chain in the Integrated Aluminium Industry and would hold 30 per cent stake in a new mine, refinery and smelter alongside private investors.
"It is estimated that there are 900million tonnes of bauxite minerals across three main locations in Ghana- that is Awaso 60 million tonnes; Nyinahin 700 million tonnes and Kyebi 160 million tonnes. Verification drilling has just been completed and the results once analysed will be used to confirm mineral resource estimates," he emphasised.
He explained that the entire value chain would include the establishment of new mines, refinery and a smelter, adding that "It is expected that this will lead to the creation of over 35000 jobs (10,000 direct and 25,000 indirect).
Mr Ansah said once developed, the industry would boost the country's economy by nearly 15 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) amounting to about $10billion.
Touching on the environment, he said GIADEC was committed to the responsible and sustainable development of the Aluminium Industry.
"GIADEC is also committed to protecting vegetation, water bodies and wildlife in any forest reserve where mining will be undertaken. There are examples of industry best practices where forest reserves have been mined and successfully rehabilitated and GIADEC will draw upon these examples to ensure minimal impact to the environment and local communities," he stressed.
He noted that even though mining in the Atewa forest had been a cause of concern for some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations, the mining license expected to be awarded in Kyebi covered 90 square metres of the 725 square metres forest.
"This translates into approximately 12 per cent of the total forest area. Not all of this area will be mined at once and the area is expected to be rehabilitated phase by phase," he added.
Mr Ansah said development of supporting infrastructure was key to the success of the industry, and GIADEC was working closely with various government agencies, including the Ministry of Railways Development, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and the Ghana National Gas Company to ensure that development of the required supporting infrastructure happened alongside the development of the aluminium industry.