The Export of Bauxite from Ghana
The Republic of Ghana is located on the west coast of Africa and is richly endowed with salt and gold mines, a fact that gives it its other name – Gold Coast. While the country has one of the world’s best oil reserves, its economy is driven mainly through the export of various materials such as timber, diamond, manganese, cocoa, gold, and bauxite.
History of Bauxite in Ghana
First discovered in 1914 in Ghana by Sir Albert Kitson, bauxite is an ore and the main source of aluminium. Though the British Aluminium Company gave approval for the mining of Bauxite in 1928 at Awaso in the country’s western region, the exploration and mining works started only in the 1940s. Ghana has substantial deposits of bauxite in regions of Ejuanema, Nyinahin, and Kibi, though most of them remain unexploited with mining activities mainly undertaken in Awaso.
Ghana was allowed as a member of the International Bauxite Association in November 1974. Ghana Bauxite Company has been working on the mining site in Awaso since 1941, which is said to have enough reserves to last for more than three decades. Other bauxite reserves of Ghana are said to have reserves to last for more than a century.
Effect of Bauxite Mining on Local Communities
Mining is one of the largest economic activities in Ghana, apart
from farming. As mining sites are usually remote, companies have
had to make huge investments in building infrastructure such as
schools, roads, electricity and water supply and hospitals that
have helped communities situated close to these locations.
The Present Scenario
There are large reserves of bauxite in Ghana; however, those
have not been exploited to their fullest potential, with just
half of its capacity being mined. Moreover, there have been
major reductions in the amount of bauxite that has been shipped
from Ghana. In 2011, there was a significant drop of 22 % as
compared to the previous year and consequently, there has been a
decline in the sales figures from the export of bauxite.
Future Prospects of Ghana’s Bauxite Industry
Though Ghana is one of the leading resources for bauxite, most
companies export the raw material that negatively impacts the
country’s economy. Ghana has significant potential to increase
and expand bauxite extraction, as it has a rich source of
hydro-electricity. Hydro-electricity is relatively cheap as
well, which can be utilised to smelt aluminium. A recent study
on bauxite mining in Ghana has also recommended that the
government should make it compulsory for companies to set up a
refinery plant, if they wish to pursue mining of bauxite.
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