Suspending Lithium Deal Is An Absolute ‘Sensible Move’ – Kwesi Pratt to Parliament

Suspending Lithium Deal

Supporters of the move to halt the lithium deal between the Ghanaian government and Barari DV Ltd. have the backing of Kwesi Pratt Jnr., editor-in-chief of the Insight newspaper.

Listeners to Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokrokoo’ heard Kwesi Pratt Jnr., Sam Okudzeto, a member of the Council of State, and representatives from civil society organisations urging Parliament to reject the mining lease.

They claim the contract should not go forward because it is not “rewarding enough” and that more thorough discussions and explanations are needed.

In response to a question from “Kokrokoo” host Kwami Sefa Kayi, Mr. Pratt characterised the stance taken by the Council member and the civil society organisations as a “sensible move.”

In his defence, he said, “the experts don’t know everything,” and that allowing more time for conversation and input was the first reasonable step. It has been demonstrated, even in this argument, that specialists aren’t always right and that laypeople can offer viewpoints that experts miss.

Barari DV Ltd, a Ghanaian subsidiary of Atlantic Lithium Ltd, was given a mining lease by the Ghanaian government in October. The country will own 19% of the company’s shares and receive 10% of the royalties from the lithium exploitation in Ghana.

When compared to all prior mining leases, this one is very different. We have never before achieved such a significant milestone in our nation’s history as the successful negotiation of 10% royalties for any mineral. This rate ranks among the highest for the exploitation of any mineral globally.

“We have already secured 19 percent state participation in this mining company with the requirement to scale it up to a minimum of Ghanaian participation through listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange for shares to be made available to Ghanaians and Ghanaian entities,” Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Samuel Abu Jinapor said at a Meet-the-Press series organised by the Ministry of Information.

A number of public figures, including former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, Professor Ransford Gyampo of the University of Ghana’s Political Science Department, and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), have voiced their disapproval of the accord.

At a press briefing on Monday, 11th December 2023, however, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Martin Ayisi, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Nana Yaw Koranteng, each took turns informing the public about the procedures that led to the lease’s grant and its terms.

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They maintained that the arrangement, which includes a refinery and the domestic sale of by-products, is unprecedented and beneficial to Ghana, and that it includes 10% royalties, 13% free carried interest, 6% interest secured by MIIF, and an extra 3% in the Australian listed holding company.

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