President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Mr Ben Nunoo Mensah, is a beneficiary owner of the 4.4 per cent shareholding in Barari DV Ghana Ltd, a subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Limited expected to mine lithium in the Mfantseman Municipality.
Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, who confirmed this on Friday said Mr Nunoo Mensah’s stake in the company dated back to 2012 and that no member of the Akufo-Addo-led Government owned shares in Barari DV Ghana, as being speculated.
The Minister’s response followed a challenge thrown by Mr Sammy Gyamfi, the Communication Officer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to the Government to disclose the identity of the one holding 4.4 per cent stake in Barari DV Ghana Ltd.
Speaking at a stakeholder engagement with civil society organisations in Accra on the Lithium deal, Mr Jinapor said the Government had nothing to hide regarding the Lithium Lease Agreement and would continue to engage relevant bodies to ensure that Ghanaians became the ultimate beneficiaries of the country’s resources.
“As the debate is ongoing regarding the Lithium Lease Agreement involving the academia, civil society organisations and so forth, the platform is open to talk to each other, jawjaw and brainstorm on the management of our natural resources to bring progess,” he said.
“And I believe with our collective wisdom, we can have positive wayforward.”
However, the Minister said it was important to segregate opinions and emotions from the real facts and data.
The Government knew the issues regarding mining in Ghana, spanning over a century, therefore, it went through a laborious process to ensure that Ghana’s green minerals, which Lithium is part, benefitted the people, he noted.
In that regard the President insisted that a policy framework was developed for the green minerals before any negotiations commenced. Hence, the policy framework developed required a minimum of seven per cent royalty rate, higher than the five per cent accepted in other minerals.
Mr Jinapor, for instance, said in the Lithium Lease Agreement signed with Barari DV Ghana Limited, the parties agreed that the State would have 19 per cent Free Carried Interest with an option of scaling up to a minimum of 30 per cent.
“There is a 13 per cent royalties, higher than the 10 per cent in the previous agreement, 35 per cent corporate income tax, while one per cent of the Company’s revenues would go to Community Development Fund.”
“There is also a requirement to establish a refinery to process Lithium locally before export.”
“The State also has 3% shares in the local company (Barari DV Ghana Ltd) and 6% in Atlanta Lithium global.”
“More so, the Lease Agreement must go through Parliament for consideration and ratification before it can be validated.”
On refining the lithium ore locally, the Minister said either Barari DV Ltd could establish a refinery to process it or give to a third party to do so. That, he believed, would enable the nation to benefit fully from the entire value chain of lithium exploitation.
Madam Nafi Chinery, Africa Director, Natural Resource Governance Institute, in her opening remarks, said the engagement with the CSOs would allow government to receive actionable recommendations and inputs to guide Parliamentary debates on the proposed Lithium Agreement.
It would also foster understanding of the content of the Agreement and provide accurate information and data on the potential quality, value and revenue expected from the mineral’s exploitation to guide public discourse.
Some participants called for amendments to the country’s mining and mineral laws to be in sync with the terms agreed in the Lithium Agreement.