HomelocalParliament Ratifies Mining Lease for Ghana Bauxite Company

Parliament Ratifies Mining Lease for Ghana Bauxite Company

Parliament unanimously ratified the Mining Lease granted by the Government to Ghana Bauxite Company to mine bauxite at Awaso in the Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai Municipality of the Western North Region. This followed a joint Parliamentary Committee of Mines and Energy and Lands and Forestry presenting its report to the House on Wednesday, June 26th, 2024.

The Awaso bauxite mine is integral to the Government’s policy to develop an integrated aluminium industry in the country. The Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC), tasked with promoting and developing this industry, has identified the Awaso mine as one of its Four Projects aimed at achieving this goal. GIADEC is collaborating with strategic investors to expand the mine and establish a refinery for refining bauxite mined in the area.

Established over eighty (80) years ago, the Ghana Bauxite Company is currently the only bauxite producer in the country. The company has undergone various phases since its inception in the 1940s. Originally owned by the British Aluminium Company Ltd, the Government acquired a fifty-five percent (55%) stake in 1972 under the Mining Operations (Government Participation) Decree, 1972 (NRCD 132), as part of the National Redemption Council’s economic policy of “taking over the commanding heights of the economy.”

Subsequently, the company faced challenges, with production declining from four hundred and seven thousand tonnes (407,000t) in 1974 to just sixty-four thousand tonnes (64,000t) in 1982.

The Government later divested its interest in the company, and in 1997, Alcan, a Canadian company, acquired an eighty percent (80%) stake, with the Government retaining the remaining twenty percent (20%). Rio Tinto, a British-Australian multinational, later acquired Alcan’s stake before selling it to the Bosai Minerals Group in 2010.

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In 2022, Ofori-Poku Company Limited (OPCL), a wholly Ghanaian-owned company, acquired the eighty-percent stake previously held by Bosai, making it the first time in eighty years that the company was wholly Ghanaian-owned.

OPCL, incorporated in 1990, has extensive experience in the mining industry, specializing in various mine services including haulage, transport, and climate change solutions.

After the expiration of its previous lease, the company was granted a new lease on May 3rd, 2024, covering the Kanayerebo, Subri, Nchiniso, Afumba, and Bokahirri Hills in Awaso. Earlier this month, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, MP, presented the mining lease to Parliament for ratification under article 268(1) of the 1992 Constitution, with the Speaker referring it to the Joint Committee of Mines and Energy and Lands and Forestry.

Presenting the Committee’s report to Parliament, Samuel Atta Akyea, Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee, noted that the request for ratification of the mining lease aligns with constitutional provisions ensuring parliamentary oversight over natural resource management and utilization. He affirmed that the lease was consistent with relevant laws and recommended its ratification, citing potential benefits for Government and socio-economic development in the area.

He said the Committee was, also, satisfied that the company has the financial and technical capacities to execute its obligations under the Lease, and, therefore, recommends the lease for ratification.

Members of Parliament commended the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources for submitting the lease for ratification and highlighted the importance of adhering to constitutional requirements for parliamentary oversight of mining leases, noting past violations since 1992. They also praised the Government for securing Ghanaian investment in the strategic mine, making it wholly Ghanaian-owned, and for including plans for a refinery to add value to mined minerals.

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They expressed optimism that these measures would benefit Ghanaians.

Minister Samuel A. Jinapor thanked Parliament and the joint Committee for their thoroughness and unanimous support in ratifying the mining lease. He affirmed the Government’s commitment to nationalizing the mining industry and ensuring full Ghanaian participation across its value chain.

The ratification of the mining lease grants the company full operational rights, secures employment for hundreds dependent on the mine, and contributes to socio-economic development in the community and the nation as a whole.

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