Ghana’s government has signed a contract for the mining of lithium in Ghana with Atlantic Lithium, an Australian company.
The terms of the contract has left many Ghanaians unhappy and disappointed because it hands the lion’s share of the profits to be made from the lithium to a foreign company and leaves Ghana with just a 13% share.
After decades of not seeing any real benefit from our abundant natural resources such as gold, bauxite and oil due to bad contracts, many believed that the discovery of lithium will be treated differently. Indeed, President Akufo-Addo had promised that the exploitation of Lithium will be done “in a way that ensures optimal benefits to the people of Ghana”.
But these hopes of a change in how Ghana manages its natural resources have been dashed with yet another bad deal that favors foreigners over Ghanaians.
Lithium, is referred to as ‘white gold’ due to how valuable it is to the clean energy revolution and is highly coveted by electric car makers.
In an attempt to defend the deal, the Minister for natural resources, Samuel Jinapor has claimed that the terms of the contract are the best for Ghana. His main justification being that some four countries with lithium receive less than 10% in royalties.
But this defense of the minister is shameful because he chooses not to look at other countries who are managing their lithium in a far beneficial way for their people.
The governments of Bolivia, Chile & Mexico have all nationalized their lithium with the aim being to ensure their people benefit fully from the valuable metal rather than foreign companies.
In fact, in Bolivia, plans are far advanced to industrialize the lithium with two processing plants and a battery manufacturing plant being set up.
And, in Africa, the governments of Namibia & Nigeria have taken steps to ban the export of raw lithium with a demand for local processing.
Sadly, Ghana’s government has signed a contract that fails to have Ghana owning majority stake and also doesn’t demand local processing to add value to the lithium
This is in spite of the fact that, the Minister recently claimed that his government wants to change the narrative of Ghana still exporting raw minerals like bauxite and manganese after mining for over 80 years.
In fact, at least 50% of the lithium that is to be extracted is already destined for a processing plant in the USA owned by Piedmont Lithium.
The contract that has been signed by government is not in the best interests of Ghana because it hands the lion’s share of yet-another natural resource to a foreign company and leaves Ghana with a tiny piece of the cake which belongs to us.
Source: Talking Africa