Ghana Signs $10 Billion Bauxite Project Agreement With China

Ghana signed an agreement with China that may culminate in the development of a $10 billion bauxite venture that will include the construction of alumina refineries and railway infrastructure, according to a senior government official.

The two countries agreed to a memorandum of understanding in which China will provide funding for the project to exploit the West African nation’s 960 million metric tons of bauxite deposits, Gideon Boako, an economic adviser for Ghanaian Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, said in a broadcast Wednesday on Accra-based Citi FM.

“We have a lot of mineral resources, so we want to build the railways and refineries to get the bauxite out of the ground,” Boako said. “If we refine the bauxite, that alone is going to generate an export value of around $460 billion.”

The parties agreed to the memorandum during last week’s visit to China of a Ghanaian government delegation that Bawumia led, Boako said. The countries are in talks over the final terms of a deal, he said.

President Nana Akufo-Addo won December’s election against former leader John Mahama on campaign pledges to create jobs and encourage the mining of bauxite. China’s plans to develop bauxite sources in Ghana follow after Guinea surpassed Australia as the largest supplier to the world’s biggest producer of alumina. Bauxite is refined into alumina, which is then smelted to produce aluminum.

Ghana produced 827,000 tons of bauxite and 40,000 tons of aluminum in 2013, U.S. Geological Survey data show.