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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: June 3rd 2003


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:: Kaiserís Valco Smelter to Operate Fully by 2006

Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation said on Friday it signed a memorandum of understanding with Ghana and Volta River Authority for its 90% owned Volta Aluminum (Valco) smelter in Ghana to be fully operational by January 2006.

Kaiser's news release said the two parties reached a memorandum of understanding in which Ghana agreed to allocate power to Valco on a firm basis from sources not solely dependent on the Volta Lake and for aluminum smelter operations to return to normal.

At January 2, 2003, Kaiser announced it had curtailed production at Valco due to reduced power allocation for 2003. Then on April 30, it shut primary aluminum production completely due to power shortages.

Water levels used to generate power in the region had fallen, but rain was expected to replenish the nearby lake during the rainy season later in the year.

Valco has five potlines, each with a 40 000 annual metric ton capacity of primary aluminum production.

Kaiser said the memorandum, drawn up after a three-day meeting in Accra, Ghana, specified that Ghana and the power authority will work with Valco to provide firm power to the Valco smelter at competitive prices and levels.

May 2003 until December 2005 will be considered a transitional period during which energy rates and allocation and other operational issues will be determined.

Specifically, Kaiser and Ghana agreed Valco's power supply will be a mixture of hydro and thermal and Ghana will take all reasonable steps to ensure the restoration of the Volta Lake to operational levels.

Additionally, Valco said it will conduct feasibility studies of potential bauxite reserves and alumina production in Ghana and will seek investment partners for those operations.




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