Business News Fri, 27 Feb 2004

Dutch company expresses interest in Nyinahin Bauxite

Accra, Feb. 27, GNA- Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, the Minister of Mines on Friday said a Dutch organisation, BHP Billiton, one of the largest mining companies has shown interest in the Nyinahin bauxite deposits in the Ashanti Region.

She said the company has applied for prospecting license for bauxite in both the Kibi bauxite area in Eastern region and Nyinahin. The Minister was in Parliament to answer a question by Mr. Akwasi Dante-Afriyie, NPP-Atwima Mponua, as to what plans the Ministry has to exploit the Nyinahin bauxite deposits.

Mrs Bannerman said the company "is currently carrying out the necessary environmental studies that will lead to the grant of an environmental permit and ultimately the prospecting licenses."

"This grant will enable BHP Billiton carry out the necessary exploration investigations for the project. Then, if the investigations prove successful, the company intends to spend over 2 billion US dollars over a period of 10 to 15 years on exploiting the bauxite, refining it into alumina and also developing the necessary infrastructure." The Minister said feasibility studies indicated that the production of alumina using the Nyinahin deposits as major raw materials was technically feasible.


She said investors who reviewed the project over the last two decades wanted to exploit the bauxite for use in their alumina refineries in their home countries.

"Since Independence, one of the government's policies for the mining sector has been to promote the development of an integrated aluminium industry."

"That is mining of the country's bauxite deposits, refining bauxite into alumina, smelting the alumina into primary aluminium and using it for manufacture of finished aluminium products in the country," the Minister explained.

Mr. Dante-Afriyie wanted to know which of the two bauxite areas Kibi and Nyinahin, had the largest deposits. The Minister said Nyinahin was the largest.

Source: GNA