Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Prof. Ransford Gyampo has teared apart explanations by some Ghanaians that the mining lease for the exploitation of lithium in Ghana will be of immense benefit to the country.
The political scientist, who is also a native of Mfantsiman where the exploitation is expected to be done, believes the agreement can be amended to increase the stake of Ghanaians rather than rushing its mine in the area.
Advocating a comprehensive policy which will ensure Ghana benefits the most from the natural resources, Prof. Gyampo told host of Inside Politics on TV XYZ that “the lithium agreement stinks and will not help the country.”
His comment comes at a time the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor has been arguing that the 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 is a good deal.
He said despite the harsh criticisms, the lease agreement signed under the current arrangement remained the best mineral resource agreement ever entered into by the country.
But Prof. Gyampo disagrees and has vowed that he will lead the youth of Mfantsiman to stop the mining firm from going ahead with its activities in the area if the agreement is not amended to benefit the people.
“When something happens and we have to tackle it as a country, then some people want to politicise it. Look, Johannesburg has a lot to show after mining but Obuasi has virtually nothing to show because in Johannesburg, the people own the mines,” he argued in Akan and emphasised that the agreement should not be business as usual.
He added, “The government has to sit with the people to dialogue. Let us know what we stand to gain; we may be wrong but come and tell us what is in the deal and tell us why you think it is the best deal.”
“If you claim the price of lithium has gone down on the market, know that it won’t be so in perpetuity so why the rush? Once they keep rushing, the more they raise doubts in the minds of the people.”
Asked what will be the next step when Parliament ratifies the agreement against experts’ views, including Ghana’s former Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, Prof. Gyampo said the people will resist the mining activities.
“They can go and buy all chiefs and all MPs in Parliament, when they succeed with that and proceed to go and mine the lithium, they will come and meet us in Mfantsiman. They can choose to kill us,” he fumed in Akan.
Clergy Against Agreement
While the debate about the lease swells, Religious leaders in the country are planning to petition Parliament to halt the agreement with Barari DV Company Limited.
At a roundtable discussion at the Institute of Economic Affairs in Accra on Tuesday, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Ghana, Reverend Paul Boafo and the Spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheik Aremiyaw said the current deal is not the best for the country and must be renegotiated.
“They are accountable to society, so for them to engage in any contract there must be a certain engagement where the people are satisfied. We cannot as a nation sit down and let this also go down the drain and let people take it away for us to suffer.”
Similarly, Reverend Boafo stressed the need for a revised agreement that prioritizes Ghana’s interests “I think that what we ought to do is to take this agreement, look at it critically come out with what we [Ghanaians].