Aluminum remains an important metal in industry, second only to steel. More aluminum is consumed than all other non-ferrous metals combined including copper and its alloys as well as lead, tin and zinc. Due to its low specific weight, resistance to corrosion and decorative properties, Aluminum is used in the transport, housing, chemical and food industries. It possesses good electrical conductivity, almost as good as copper and is widely used in the electrical industry.
Ghana is richly endowed with huge quantities of good quality bauxite at Kibi in the Eastern Region, Nyinahin in Ashanti and Awaso in the Western Region, a greater part of which remains unexploited.
The main obstacle to the production of Aluminum is the large amount of electricity required. The mining, processing, smelting and related works necessary to produce 1 tonne of aluminum requires more than 10,000 kWh of electricity, equivalent to 2 years electricity consumption for an average Ghanaian household.
An integrated aluminum industry consists of mining and refining of bauxite into alumina, smelting of alumina into Aluminum and the fabrication of aluminum into semi-finished and finished products.
Globally the variety of uses of aluminum has increased with continued growth in demand. The main reasons for this are aluminum’s unique properties—versatility, lightweight and recyclability.
The aluminum industry shall be supported to develop and shape the housing, real estate and automobile industries. The country shall acquire substantial ownership in the alumina refinery operations and increase its off-take of aluminum from the smelter for its intermediary fabricating industries, and build advanced factor advantages in the form of skills and know-how peculiar to the industry. Ghana should also establish an industry-sponsored research and training institution providing specific support for the sector.