Ghana is inviting investors to submit plans on how to tap the nation’s bauxite deposits as the government seeks to leverage more of its mineral resources to fund infrastructure. Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corp. is receiving proposals on how to expand bauxite production and build refining and smelting capacity for the manufacturing of alumina and aluminum, Chief Executive Officer Michael Ansah said in an interview. The state-owned company was created last year to implement the government’s plans for the industry.
Interested parties can submit bids over three rounds, of which the first one closes at the end of the month, said Ansah. The country wants to raise annual output through these rounds of deals to 5 million metric tons, from 1.4 million tons at the moment, said Ansah. West African neighbor Guinea, the largest exporter of bauxite to China, produced about 50 million tons of the aluminum ingredient in 2018, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The government of President Nana Akufo-Addo is seeking to use the proceeds of bauxite mining to build schools, hospitals, bridges, and roads. Last year, it concluded a $2 billion deal with China’s Sinohydro Corp. for infrastructure projects, an agreement that it will finance with the proceeds of refined bauxite sales. The country also mines gold, diamonds, and manganese, and is the world’s second-biggest grower of cocoa.
Ghana’s plans to increase bauxite output come even though the aluminum market has declined for the past year, reversing a surge in April 2018 that happened in the wake of sanctions on major producer United Co. Rusal.
Priority projects include a refinery for alumina production, estimated to cost over $1 billion. Raising output capability of the Volta Aluminium Co. smelter to 350,000 tons, from 200,000 tons. The refinery is currently operating at a fifth of its capacity.