Politics

Ghana will not export green minerals in raw state – Lands Minister

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The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has reiterated government’s commitment to adding value to the country’s natural resources, particularly its green minerals.

He said under no circumstances will Ghana export its lithium and other green minerals in their raw state.

The Minister made this known at the Bloomberg New Economy Africa Conference, held in Marrakesh, Morocco from 13th to 14th June, 2023.

The Conference brought together leaders from the private and public sectors to discuss the world’s most pressing issues and evaluate potential solutions in the context of local and regional priorities.

This year’s conference put the spotlight on Africa’s green minerals.

Speaking at a panel discussion on building value, the Minister said the surest way to benefit from these green minerals, in view of the green energy transition, is to ensure value addition.

According to Mr. Jinapor, one of the reasons why Africa has not benefitted from its several years of mining is the over concentration on the export of raw minerals.

“To be able to benefit from the green minerals, therefore, we must make a conscious effort to move away from the export of raw materials to value addition,” he said.

Ghana is endowed with several green minerals including Lithium, Graphite, Chrome, Zinc, Copper, Cobalt and Nickel. Lithium, in particular, has been found in high grade in the Central Region.

According to experts, the global lithium industry at the mining stage is about 11 billion US dollars. But the value of the industry at the highest end, which is battery production is estimated at 7 trillion US dollars.

But the processes from mining to battery production are very capital intensive.

Currently, China is the only country doing end to end retention of the full value from mining to battery production.

Mr. Jinapor said even though the country may not be able to retain the full value chain from mining to battery production at this stage, Government is committed to ensuring that as much as possible, a significant proportion of the value chain is retained in Ghana.

“We intend to end the practice of not adding value to our mineral resources. We are beginning by establishing the appropriate policy and legal framework for Ghana to significantly benefit from the new paradigm of green energy,” the Minister said.

He disclosed that a policy for the exploitation, management and utilisation of the country’s green minerals is currently before Cabinet for its consideration.

He said the overall objective of the policy is to ensure that the people of Ghana benefit from these minerals through value addition, local content and local participation. The Minister expressed optimism that Cabinet will soon approve the policy to pave way for the exploitation of our lithium resources.

Lithium is the main mineral used in the production of lithium-ion batteries, alongside bauxite, manganese and other green minerals.

Ghana has been mining bauxite and manganese for several years but is yet to exploit its lithium resources.

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