The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has voiced serious reservations about the Lithium Mining Agreement inked on October 20, 2023, between the Government of Ghana and Barari DV Ghana Limited.
The agreement, granting mining rights for lithium and associated minerals in Ewoyaa, Mfantsiman Municipality, Central Region, for a 15-year term, has sparked concerns regarding its legal and economic implications.
In a statement released today, the IEA underscored the necessity for parliamentary ratification, citing Article 268 of the 1992 Constitution, which requires approval by Parliament for contracts exploiting the country's natural resources.
The institute welcomed the Minority in Parliament's acknowledgement, issued on October 24, 2023, that the Agreement demands prior parliamentary approval.
Expressing scepticism about the touted favourable terms for Ghana, the IEA asserted that the Agreement mirrors the colonial-type contracts of the past, yielding limited benefits for the average Ghanaian.
The statement suggested that in contemporary best practices, mineral resource exploitation should involve either a joint-venture agreement, with the host country having a stake in the mining company, or a service contract selected through a transparent bidding process.
The think tank urged Parliament to exercise caution and patience, advocating for a modern, best-practice-based arrangement that ensures maximum benefits for the people of Ghana.
It cautioned against the conventional colonial-type leases, labelling them as benefiting foreign companies masquerading as investors and their local partners.
The IEA has long been an advocate for favourable mining fiscal regimes to maximize Ghana's natural resource wealth. It criticized colonial-type contracts that favour foreign companies and reiterated the need for Ghana to take meaningful control of its wealth.
Quoting President Paul Kagame, the IEA emphasized that it is inexcusable for Ghana to sell its birthright cheaply and called for a shift towards meaningful control of the country's wealth.
The statement concluded by stressing the urgency for Ghana to leverage its natural resources for development and poverty eradication rather than seeking reparations or aid from Western capitals.