The Multinational Monitor


G L O B A L   N E W S W A T C H

Ghana: New Mill May Break Kaiser's Hold

The government of Ghana is currently taking steps to make its aluminum industry less dependent on multinational companies and more integrated with Ghana's economy.

A newly-created government Aluminum Industries Commission has drawn up plans for a 10,000 metric ton per year aluminum rolling mill at Tema, Ghana. The mill will produce heavy-gauge aluminum sheeting from ingots from the Volta Aluminum Company's (VALCO) smelting plant, owned 90 percent by Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation and 10 percent by Reynolds Metal Company-both U.S. firms. The sheeting will be used for domestic manufacture of products such as household utensils and roofing sheets, primarily for the Ghanaian market.

"With the new rolling mill, the people of Ghana will have a variety of end uses" for their aluminum, says Kojo Arthur of the Center for Development Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based research group.

At present, bauxite mined in Ghana is sold to multinational aluminum companies which ship it abroad for preliminary refining into alumina. Alumina from other sources is imported for smelting at the Valco plant into aluminum ingots, which are then exported for rolling and finally returned to Ghana for manufacture into the consumer goods sold there. In this way, large firms such as Kaiser and Reynolds control and profit from nearly all stages of the value-adding process.

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