Ghana Wants Socio-Economic Development in Exchange for Lithium

On 14 February 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana and Atlantic Lithium Mining Company held a stakeholder meeting. The colorful event saw the participation not only of competent authorities, but representatives of affected communities from the districts of Mfantseman and Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese. Some forty participants, including elders, chiefs and inhabitants of communities involved attended the meeting.

Public Hearing on Ewoyaa Lithium Mine Project
Public Hearing on Ewoyaa Lithium Mine Project

The public hearing is part of the scoping and drafting of the terms of reference for the Ewoyaa Lithium mining and processing project. Atlantic Lithium committed to restore and improve the environmental integrity of the site before, during and after the expected 15 years of operation.

The Ewoyaa mine will require an investment of USD 250 million. After six years of exploration, the Ewoyaa mine is ready to start commercial exploitation. The relevant licenses will be granted to Barari DV Ghana Limited, which is the subsidiary of Australian Atlantic Lithium. For that to happen, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report must be approved by the EPA.

“Lithium is a natural resource, which could turn the fortunes of any country, thus the people need to harness the opportunities that comes with the project for national development.” 

Ghana EPA Deputy Director Ransford Sekyi

The village chiefs called for the need to ensure socio-economic benefits for the communities nearby the mine. Basically, the Chiefs demanded factories in exchange for the exploitation rights. As experience in other countries have demonstrated, only Loval Value Addition (#LVA) can Ghana hope to extract substantial benefits from its mineral resources.

At the same time, the inhabitants were interested to know what infrastructure development projects would be implemented as the projects kicks off its commercial phase. Compensation for resettlement was raised and would require further negotiations to be hashed out. In line with best practices elsewhere, mining enterprises must exert their Corporate Social Responsibility (#CSR) and adhere to Environmental, Social and Governance (#ESG) frameworks.

The Ewoyaa mine is the first-ever #Lithium mining project in Ghana and as such will set the benchmark for similar future projects. Ghana’s Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) has invested USD 32.9 million into Atlantic Lithium in support of the Ewoyaa mine, representing 6% stake in its Ghanaian portfolio. In accordance with Ghana’s #CriticalMinerals Policy, MIIF CEO Edward Koranteng expressed the hope to strengthen the partnerships as production ramps up and other by-products such as feldspar are produced.

“The equity participation of Ghana’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (#SWF) demonstrates the Government of Ghana’s conviction in the Ewoyaa Project, showcasing its intent to support the Critical Minerals Agenda and position the country as a leading mining investment jurisdiction in Africa. Having MIIF as a shareholder not only de-risks the Projects but further aligned Atlantic Lithium’s interests with the interests of the locals.”

Atlantic Lithium Executive Chairman Neil Herbert