The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, Friday said the government’s Lithium Lease Agreement with Barari DV Ghana Limited is the best Ghana has ever had in terms of mineral resources mining.
In his defence of the Agreement with the company, a subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Limited, he said in the history of the country, never had any government signed a more profitable deal, which had the interest of Ghanaians at heart.
Speaking at a stakeholder engagement with some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Accra, Mr Jinapor took time to provide key details about the Agreement in order to dispel the false narratives surrounding it.
He explained that the various clauses within the Agreement signified a departure from the historically exploitative colonial approach to Ghana’s mineral resources.
The Minister said those clauses aligned with the Government’s strategic direction, emphasising value addition in the utilisation of the country’s mineral wealth.
He mentioned the listing of Bavari DV on the Ghana Stock Exchange, which allows for potential Ghanaian investment through purchasing of shares, the obligation for local participation and the value addition clauses as some of the key components of the deal.
He, thus, assured that the Ghanaian interests reigned supreme in the exploitation of lithium ore in the country.
“This is the first time that by law, we have made provisions that this company will have to list on the Ghanaian Stock Exchange. They are also required to have a minimum of 30% Ghanaian participation. We already have 19% so we have 11% and it could be more,” he said.
“This arrangement is the number one factor, which in my mind, jettisons the colonial term of mining.”
“The second one is value addition. We’ve always exported raw materials, but this is the first time we have signed a mining lease with clauses, which state that the company will have to retain a significant proportion of the value chain by establishing a chemical plant and refinery here in Ghana.”
“It has never happened before.”
Noting that he was armed with credible and relevant information from other countries, Mr Jinapor maintained his stance on the lease agreement as the best the country had negotiated.
“Australia accounts for 52% of global lithium production. Chile accounts for 25%. Zimbabwe is the largest lithium producing country in Africa and their grades are better than ours but when it comes to royalties, Australia pegs it at 5%, Mali pegs its 6% and Zimbabwe at 5%. The Ghana Government has negotiated a 10% benefit, which is twice Zimbabwe and Australia and 4% more than Mali,” the Minister said.
He refuted allegations that the deal had been shrouded in secrecy, explaining, however, that transparency had been the hallmark of the agreement.
“The signing ceremony of the lease agreement was done with active media presence, which is an enough indication of the commitment by the Government to comply with the tenets of transparency and accountability,” he noted.
Whiles welcoming criticism and feedback from the public, Mr Jinapor urged critics to propose alternative and better deals, instead of outlandishly rubbishing the one signed by his Ministry.
He assured Ghanaians of the Government’s continuous pursuits of strategies, policies and commitments that serve and protect their best interests.
On 19th of October 2023, the Government signed the first-ever Lithium Lease Agreement with Lithium Atlantic, an Australian mining firm, to mine the mineral at Ewoyaa in the Central Region.
The Minister dismissed claims by a section of the public that the whole deal was being rushed, noting that “government did not rush in signing the Atlantic Lithium Agreement”.