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Lithium Deal: Parliament Cannot be Trusted, MPs Can be Bought – Ransford Gyampo

A prominent figure at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has expressed skepticism about Parliament’s ability to effectively scrutinize the proposed Lithium deal. He highlighted concerns that Members of Parliament (MPs) could be influenced and swayed due to various interests involved in the agreement, raising doubts about the transparency and efficacy of the parliamentary review process.

The Minority in Parliament, led by John Jinapor, demanded that the government present the 15-year mining lease agreement with Barari DV Ghana Limited for the Lithium mining in the Central Region before initiating the mining process. Citing Article 268 of the 1992 Constitution, Jinapor stressed the necessity for parliamentary approval for such agreements involving natural resources.

Jinapor assured the public that the Minority would rigorously analyze the agreement, engage civil society, and even seek the counsel of former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo. They emphasized the importance of ensuring that Ghana’s interests are prioritized and protected in the deal.

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Contrarily, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, indicated the government’s intent to seek parliamentary approval for the agreement. He emphasized the substantial benefits to Ghana, citing a significant 10 percent royalties arrangement and a 19 percent state participation, ultimately aiming for a 30 percent combined Ghanaian and state involvement in the project.

Former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo also weighed in, highlighting the necessity for parliamentary ratification of the Lithium lease. She expressed concerns that despite touted benefits, the agreement resembled colonial-era deals that historically lacked substantial gains for the country.

The Lithium deal with Barari DV Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Limited, granted a 15-year mining lease to exploit lithium in the Mfantseman Municipality. The terms of the lease incorporate provisions intended to maximize Ghana’s benefits, including increased royalties, state participation, and value addition to the extracted mineral.

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Lithium’s significance stems from its use in lithium-ion batteries, pivotal in the global shift towards green energy, aiming to mitigate climate change by reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Consequently, the emerging market for lithium has heightened interest in its extraction and beneficiation, which Ghana is now navigating.

The Minister stressed that this Lithium lease differs significantly from past mining agreements, emphasizing the need for a specialized policy for the exploitation and management of green minerals, including lithium, to ensure Ghana’s greater value and benefit from this emerging resource.

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