Accra Ghana — MININGREVIEW.COM — 25 November 2010 – The government of Ghana plans to restart its Valco aluminium smelter next year as a prelude to building an integrated aluminium industry as world metal prices and its own energy resources improve.
The 200 000tpa smelter with six potlines has been shut since March 2007, largely due to weak metal prices and power shortages caused by low water levels in the vast Volta hydropower dam.
Now Edward Bawa “’ spokesman for the minister of energy “’ has said here that cabinet has approved the restart of the smelter next year, initially on two potlines and ramping up later.
“Valco is presently negotiating with the three power utilities on power requirements and the relevant tariffs, and we expect the company to restart immediately they have agreed on a price,” he added, giving no specific date.
Bawa went on to say that the Energy Ministry had initiated the restart plans following an improvement in the country’s power reserves.
“Presently, we are generating 2 085MW of power against our peak period demand of 1 300 to 1 400MW,” Bawa said, adding that an addition of 275.5 megawatts installed capacity last year had greatly helped to buoy the supply system.
Ghana fully owns Valco, after buying Kaiser Aluminium’s 90% stake in 2004 for US$18 million (R126 million), and acquiring the outstanding 10% from U.S. aluminium maker Alcoa four years later for US$2 million (R14 million), with plans to establish an integrated industry including a 2Mtpa aluminium refinery.