Ghana’s Parliament Soon to Debate Bill Establishing Aluminium and Bauxite Authority

Ghana’s government has taken the next step in what it hopes to be a journey ending at a fully-developed aluminium sector by drafting a bill to be presented to Parliament establishing the Ghana Integrated Aluminium and Bauxite Development Authority.

Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia spoke on the subject at a regional forum regarding raw materials extraction earlier this week, noting that the move is part of President Akufo-Addo’s ongoing commitment to developing the country’s extensive bauxite ore reserves.

According to Bawumia, the proposed department would not only regulate the industry, but also promote responsible mining practices.

“The Authority will be responsible for the development of the necessary infrastructure, including rail, roads and energy, industrial parks, and associated social infrastructure to support related businesses in the sector and the industry as a whole.

The authority would serve a greater purpose as well, according to Bawumia, as it also represents the government’s drive “to moving our extractive sector beyond the old paradigm as part of the vision to move Ghana beyond aid.”

He continued by pointing out that this was also a step toward motivating private business to step in and take advantage of the country’s mineral wealth as well.

“As we deliberated on this paradigm shift and were trying to make a break from the past, in drafting this new bill we thought it was very important to get the best minds across the continent and in the world to discuss the whole issue of value addition.”

Bawumia went on to say that simply harvesting the country’s natural resources was not enough. Adding value along the way is critical to realizing the greatest return on its mineral resources.

“According to industry estimates, the price per carat increases roughly eightfold from rough diamond to polished gem-quality diamond. The earning margins are much higher in the upstream sector (16-20%) than in the middle market sector (1-8%).

“The value of bauxite increases nearly six times of refined into alumina and nearly 33 times if converted into aluminium metal alloy. Given the various stages of the value chain, I know, which part I want to be in.”

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