Green Minerals Policy in Ghana: Green minerals, often referred to as “minerals of the future,” play a pivotal role in supporting the transition to clean energy technologies and reducing carbon emissions.
This diverse category encompasses vital resources like bauxite, cobalt, copper, lithium, granite, manganese, and nickel. Recently, Ghana took a significant step by approving the Green Minerals Policy, which aims to optimize the benefits of green minerals, especially lithium. In this article, we delve into the key aspects of Ghana’s new policy, its implications, and the emphasis on value addition while preserving local interests.
Understanding the Green Minerals Policy
The Green Minerals Policy, authorized by the Cabinet on July 27, marks an amendment to the Mining and Minerals Policy of 2014 in Ghana. This visionary policy strives to establish progressive regimes, empowering the country to harness the full potential of green minerals, particularly lithium. The policy sets forth a clear roadmap for legislative interventions, including amendments to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
Reforming the Royalty Regime
One of the primary outcomes of the new policy is the introduction of a distinct royalty regime for green minerals. Unlike the current rates ranging from three to five percent, the green mineral royalties are poised to be higher, surpassing those associated with gold and other conventional minerals. The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, acknowledged this shift and urged prompt implementation.
Empowering Local Participation
The Green Minerals Policy aims to stimulate higher levels of local participation in the green minerals value chain. Presently, the state holds a 10 percent vested interest in mining entities. However, the new policy insists on elevating the minimum Ghanaian participation to ensure that Ghanaians, as the true owners of these resources, derive significant benefits. Negotiations for lithium and other green minerals will adhere to a Cabinet-approved baseline, maintaining a fair balance between the country’s interests and those of investors.
Focus on Value Addition
Crucially, the policy emphasizes value addition as a key strategy to foster active participation by Ghanaians in the green minerals industry. Raw mining and the export of lithium are strictly prohibited, highlighting the government’s commitment to maximizing local benefits. By adding value to lithium before exporting it, Ghana seeks to capitalize on this precious resource responsibly.
Clarity on Licensing
There have been concerns about licenses issued for lithium mining, but Minister Jinapor clarifies that no permits or licenses have been granted for exploitation. The licenses issued were solely for exploration, which led to the discovery of commercial quantities of lithium at Ewoyaa in the Central Region. The government’s focus remains on developing a robust policy framework before embarking on full-scale mining.
Global Lithium Industry Perspective
The global lithium industry holds immense value, estimated at $11 billion during the mining stage, with a staggering potential reaching up to $7 trillion. Countries such as Zimbabwe, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mali possess commercial lithium deposits, while others like Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Namibia boast abundant graphite reserves. In light of this, Ghana’s Green Minerals Policy underscores the significance of value addition in maximizing returns.
The approval of Ghana’s Green Minerals Policy signifies a vital step towards fostering sustainable energy practices and reducing carbon emissions. By targeting value addition and prioritizing local participation, the country is poised to unlock the full potential of green minerals, particularly lithium, for the benefit of its citizens. This visionary policy ensures a win-win situation for investors and the nation, firmly establishing Ghana’s position as a leader in responsible and lucrative green mineral exploitation.