The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor says government is open to alternative agreement to the current Lithium Mining lease entered into with Barari DV Limited, a subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Limited to mine Lithium at Ewoyaa in Mfantsiman Municipality of Central Region.
He said despite the criticisms, the lease agreement signed under the current arrangement remained the best mineral resource agreement ever entered into by the country.
“Government is very happy to listen to superior arguments, alternatives or superior proposition from Ghanaians, Academia Ghanaian Institutions, civil society organisations and the rest, much more a personality that has occupied the high office of Chief Justice. If the Chief Justice puts forward an alternative, critique, suggestions, proposals which is superior to what we are doing, then the most important thing to do is that we structure an arrangement and reconstruct a new one in the interest of Ghana and to the benefit of all Ghanaians,” he emphasised.
Mr Jinapor who was taking his turn at the Bi-weekly Minister’s Briefing organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday, said it was unfortunate that beyond the criticisms from some quarters including the former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo nothing concrete or tangible had been put on the table to allow for further interrogation and compare whether the country was getting a good deal or not.
He said a review of the agreement entered into for the mining of the country’s Lithium would reveal that it was not only a good deal, but competitive and comparable to all agreements in the area of Lithium mining in the world.
The minister explained that the lease agreement was signed on October 19, this year after more than 15 months of negotiations.
He said the lease agreement mandated the state to retain a 19 per cent carried interest with an option to scale up to a minimum of 30 per cent.
“The Mining Lease is subject to ratification by Parliament in accordance with Article 268(1) of the Constitution and section 5(4) of Act 703. Upon execution of this Mining Lease, the minister shall cause the mining lease to be laid before Parliament for ratification,” he emphasised.
Touching on the refinery components of the country’s lithium ore locally, Mr Jinapor said the agreement made mandatory for Barari DV Limited establish a refinery to process it or gave it to a third party to do so.
He said the ministry had already received request from multiple companies including a Korean firm expressing interest in refining lithium locally.
The minister said as part of the President’s vision of developing the country’s mineral resources, government was ready to provide more resources to the Ghana Geological Survey Authority to enable it expand upscale its survey and aerial mapping of the country towards finding more lithium deposit.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Income and Investment Fund (MIIF), Mr Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng said the country would rake in not less than $2.4 billion the period of Lithium mining with an estimated amount of $360 million per year.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL
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