The Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) can rake in an estimated US$500 million for the economy annually when it operates at full capacity.
The company, at full capacity, can also generate an estimated US$300 million annually through power purchases from the Volta River Authority (VRA) and taxes from the Value Added Tax (VAT), VALCO Fund, property rates, port charges and local purchases, among other revenue.
At full capacity, VALCO will be able to offer employment opportunities to 22,000 people.
The Learning and Development Manager of VALCO, Mr Mike Abrokwa, announced this when the company hosted 15 final-year chemical engineering students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.
The three-day visit offered the students an opportunity to undertake field studies in small, medium and large-scale industrial, raw material preparations, processing and production, as well as reactor control performance and safety.
They were also taken through product handling, storage and marketing, as well as equipment maintenance.
The field study is a requirement of the Bachelor of Science chemical and petrochemical engineering programme for graduation.
It also offered them an opportunity to be attached to their potential employers to explore areas of collaboration with industries and identify potential projects.
In his address, Mr Abrokwa said VALCO was currently only operating at 20 per cent capacity because of power constraints.
“VALCO is supposed to be the anchor of Ghana’s integrated aluminium industry project but it currently operates at 20 per cent capacity, consuming 70 megawatts of power,” he bemoaned.
He said the plant needed 350 megawatts to operate at full capacity to produce 200,000 metric tonnes of primary aluminium annually.
In his remarks, a lecturer at the Department of Chemical Engineering of the KNUST, Dr Benjamin Afortey, said VALCO’s contribution to the economy was enormous.
He added that the company could also offer skills training to students from institutions of higher learning and, therefore, appealed to the government to address the challenges confronting the company.
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