Russia - Ghana relations/


… And Seeks To Invest $1.5 bn In Constructing A Vertically Integrated Aluminium Industry Plus Related Infrastructure In Ghana!

By Our Special Correspondent

As reported in our Tuesday edition, RUSAL, a giant Russian aluminium company which is currently the number 3 (third) primary aluminium producer in the world, is eyeing Ghana as an investment destination with an expressed interest in the mining of bauxite, building of an alumina refinery, operating and upgrading of VALCO,s aluminium smelter.

Having already established a highly credible performance track-record in the Republic of Guinea, also in West Africa, RUSAL, according to sources close to Ghana's Ministry of Mines, has already applied to the Minerals Commission and the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Industry Committee for exploration permits for the bauxite deposits at Kibi and Niniyahin.

Our sources revealed that RUSAL as far back as March 2004, expressed its intention to conduct necessary geological tests and develop a feasibility study for a bauxite mine and an alumina refinery within the next 2 years in Ghana. It submitted formal applications in June 2004.

RUSAL, if and when given the opportunity plans to construct in Ghana an alumina refinery with capacity not less one million tones involving an investment outlay of one billion United States dollars.

Sources close to RUSAL intimated to this paper that an additional and very promising aspect of the potential involvement of RUSAL in the country's aluminium industry will be the possibility of re-launching and further developing VALCO's aluminium smelter located at Tema especially after the acquisition of VALCO by the Government of Ghana.

"We believe RUSAL can add significant value to the vibrant and growing economy of Ghana, to its social and economic development. We would like to play a more prominent role in your country and within the communities where we would be operating, to enhance their standard of living and social welfare", Valery Kirilinko of RUSAL's office in Guinea said in a telephone chat with our correspondent.

He reiterated that RUSAL's vision was to help construct a vertically integrated aluminium industry in Ghana, including mining of bauxite, building an alumina refinery, operating and upgrading VALCO's aluminium smelter as already indicated in the lead paragraph of this story.

He spoke of a substantial participation in modernization of local infrastructure, including possible upgrading of existing power-generating facilities as well as the construction of new ones.

The modernization of port facilities in Ghana is also on the agenda should RUSAL be offered the opportunity of co-operation and investment in Ghana.

"Long-term commitment to the environment as well as strict attention to social issues, including local job creation, training and active involvement in community affairs are policies which have informed our track-record in Guinea and elsewhere, and we envisage our Ghanaian experience to be no different", said Mr.Kirilenko of RUSAL.

Providing details, he said the estimated construction cost of the Kibi and Mpesaso bauxite mines will be around $100 million and involve an annual output of 3 to 4 million tones.

The construction of the envisaged modern alumina refinery with an annual capacity of one million tones could cost nearly US$1 billion, he revealed.

He said modernization of existing infrastructure and the construction of new ones including railway tracks (120 - 250 kilometers), seaports at Tema and Takorady, water supply and sewage facilities and the putting up of new 50 MW power station to support the alumina refinery, could entail RUSAL making an overall financial commitment of up to US$1.5 billion. He added, that these estimates are very preliminary and that an exact assessment of expenditures needed would be the object of feasibility study.

The construction of the bauxite mine, the alumina refinery and other related infrastructure according to a RUSAL technical brain, would take about seven (7) years to undertake and complete.

"We are prepared to begin discussions as soon as Ghanaian authorities are ready. We believe the potential benefits to Ghana will be enormous and far-reaching", Mr.Kirilenko underscored.

For the benefits, please read next week's edition of your Crusading GUIDE.

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