The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has defended the recently signed lithium mining contract with Barari DV Ghana Limited, adding that the agreement, which marks a significant departure from traditional mining leases, is crafted to prioritise the interests of Ghana.
Barari DV Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Australian-based Atlantic Lithium Limited, was granted a 15-year mining lease in October 2023 for the exploitation of lithium in the Ewoyaa area of the Central Region. The project, with a life of 12 years, is expected to produce approximately 350,000 tonnes of concentrate at 5.5-6% lithium oxide.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Thursday (7 December), to address concerns raised by some industry experts, Jinapor underscored the unique aspects of the contract, including a 10% royalty rate and a substantial 19% state participation, aiming to secure greater value for the nation.
He highlighted the historic nature of the agreement, noting that it is the first time in Ghana’s history that a mining lease incorporates provisions for the establishment of a refinery.
“We have ensured that the interest of the Ghanaian people is paramount in this agreement,” the minister said. He further explained the government’s policy framework, emphasising the incorporation of green minerals into the existing mining policy and other measures such as mandatory Ghanaian participation, a minimum royalty rate, and facilitating value addition through the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF).
He mentioned that the negotiation process followed international best practices.
Jinapor clarified that the contract is subject to parliamentary ratification, and the necessary processes, including cabinet approval, are underway.
In response to calls for competitive bidding and the establishment of a Ghana Lithium Company, the chief executive officer of the Minerals Commission, Martin Ayisi provided detailed insights into the decision-making process, citing factors like the lack of geological data and the need to attract high-risk exploration as reasons behind the absence of such process.
He reiterated government’s dedication to transparent and responsible resource management for the benefit of the nation, urging support from the public.
The lithium contract, he emphasized, aligns with the broader goal of maximizing the benefits of Ghana’s natural resources and contributing to the nation’s socio-economic development.