President Akufo-Addo (middle), flanked by Samuel Abu Jinapor and Ato Afful. Others are George Mireku Duker (2nd from left), Deputy Minister of  Lands and Natural Resources; Barbara Oteng Gyasi (2nd from right), Board Chair, Minerals Commission; Prof. Patrick Agbesinyale, Chief Director, Ministry of Lands; and Theophilus Yartey (left), Editor, Graphic. Picture: DOUGLAS ANANE-FRIMPONG
President Akufo-Addo (middle), flanked by Samuel Abu Jinapor and Ato Afful. Others are George Mireku Duker (2nd from left), Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources; Barbara Oteng Gyasi (2nd from right), Board Chair, Minerals Commission; Prof. Patrick Agbesinyale, Chief Director, Ministry of Lands; and Theophilus Yartey (left), Editor, Graphic. Picture: DOUGLAS ANANE-FRIMPONG

Ghana to reap full benefit from Lithium - President Akufo-Addo pledges at Graphic Dialogue

Ghana has discovered lithium and other green minerals in commercial quantities, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced.

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He said with the unfortunate experience of less benefit from over a century of mining of gold, the government was putting in place measures to ensure that this did not occur in the discovery of lithium in the country.

“I assure you that we will do whatever it takes to ensure that the exploitation and utilisation of these green minerals are done, not only in an environmentally sound manner, but also in a way that ensures optimal benefits to the people of Ghana.

This, we will never compromise,” he said.

Value addition to bauxite, iron ore

President Akufo-Addo also announced that through the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation established in 2018, the government was working to ensure value addition to bauxite resources through refining, smelting, aluminium production, as well as production of other downstream aluminium products.

He said the implementation of the various stages of the projects was expected to optimise production in the upstream industry, increase production and job creation in the downstream sector, adding that with an estimated bauxite resource base of over 900 million metric tonnes, the sector could serve as an anchor for the country's industrialisation if value addition policies were pursued.

President Akufo-Addo made the remarks when he opened the two-day Natural Resources Stakeholders Dialogue in Accra, noting that the discovery of lithium in commercial quantities was in occurrences of cobalt, nickel copper and lead, zinc and chromium.

National Dialogue

The dialogue is being organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited, in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, on the theme:

“Harnessing Our Natural Resources Responsibly for Our Sustainable Collective Good”.

President Akufo-Addo noted that to avoid the reoccurrence of the exploitation of gold and other resources, the sector minister was finalising a policy document from the exploitation in the utilisation and management of these crucial minerals for the consideration of the Cabinet in the next few weeks.

Referring to the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) and the Ghana Integrated Iron and Steel Development Corporation laws, President Akufo-Addo said the sector minister was empowered to make regulations to ensure that no bauxite or iron ore was exported in its raw state after five years of the coming into force of these laws.

“We will ensure that the highest values of these minerals are retained in our country,” he said.
 

Truth

He indicated that with corruption, incompetence and political instability, coupled with, mostly, short-sightedness in these negotiations, a lot of countries in Africa settled for less and had until recently failed to put in place the requisite frameworks which would enable them to establish the highest ends of the value chains of the extractive industries on the continent.

He said issues such as tax and royalty exemptions, intolerable labour practices and the lack of value addition, as well as increased profits for mining companies at the expense of host communities, towns, cities and countries would not be encouraged as part of the things government would not countenance.

“We cannot repeat these mistakes,” President Akufo-Addo said, and added that while it was fully understood that the mining companies must make profits from their businesses, it was important that this was not done at the expense of the lands and the peoples that provided those resources.

He said the country should harness its natural resources for sustainable development in such a manner that the exploitation of the resources would not destroy the natural environment.

He said there was the need for mining contracts to address issues of environmental protection, the payment of adequate compensation to affected communities and the development of the areas where those resources were derived.

Collective responsibility

President Akufo-Addo noted that issues of illegalities in the extractive sector, including illegal mining and illegal logging, which had been a source of destruction of forests, water bodies and arable lands, and had also deprived the country of the resources for development, must be tackled head-on.

“This is a collective responsibility.

Government has its role, but government's efforts will come to naught if we all fail to do our part in this exercise,” he advised.

That, he explained, did not mean that the government was shirking its responsibility, but to emphasise that the protection and preservation of the natural resources required an all-hands-on-deck approach because the sustainable exploitation of these resources had the potential to transform the country and, indeed, the continent.

Local content

President Akufo-Addo indicated that it was also to forestall the incidence of the country not deriving maximum benefit from its resources that the government had prioritised local content and local participation, as well as value addition in the natural resources sector, to ensure that the country derived optimal benefits from those “God-given resources”.

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He commended the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Ghana Institute of Foresters, the Ghana Institution of Surveyors and other stakeholders for their cooperation in the implementation of the relevant policies.

He called on the Ghana Chamber of Mines to expedite work on the listing of their members on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

He said the same policies with iron ore deposits and with the establishment of global automotive giants such as Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, Suzuki in Sonata, all established in the country, developing an integrated iron and steel industry, along with an integrated aluminium industry was not just desirable, but also necessary for the accelerated progress and industrialisation of the country.

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