The Member of Parliament for Bortianor-Ngleshie-Amanfro, Sylvester Tetteh popularly known as Sly, has told critics of the government’s lithium deal to present valid reasons if they desire increased profits from the agreement.
According to him, it is not enough to make such demands for an increase in the stake or profit in the lithium agreement when there are no reasons or information to back them up.
He explained that on the part of the government, what it has been able to negotiate is the best in the world.
Therefore, if stakeholders demand more stake, they should make that information available.
His comments come amid ongoing discussions and disputes surrounding the government’s deal with Barari DV to mine lithium at Ewoyaa in the Central Region.
Presently, in the agreement, Ghana stands to gain 10% in royalties, a percentage the government describes as the best in the world.
Speaking on Metro TV on December 12, 2023, MP Sly Tetteh noted that if stakeholders feel the 10% is not enough, then there is the need for well-founded arguments to push for more benefits from the lithium deal.
“Whatever we are doing, there are practices all over the world. There are standards and investments that are being done all over the world. There is no country in the world that has more lithium deposits than ours but those countries have the best practices. When we got oil, we were in the Scandinavian countries to learn about oil, the same is with this one. What we have been able to sign, is the best in the world and nobody is disputing that.
“If we are saying that we still need more, I am not closing down that chapter, people should bring reasons. It is not enough to say that we have only royalties. If we want to pass royalties and say, we have to own part of what we are doing, I agree. But what does it cost to be a partner in this mining, it is something that should be open on the table. Let’s quantify what it takes to be a partaker rather than paying me royalties. It’s a fair argument but at what cost,” he questioned.
He stated that the country, in the current state of the agreement, stands to get other benefits such as the establishment of a refinery, and others.
However, if stakeholders still feel dissatisfied, the conversation should be opened up to look at the cost of becoming a partner in the mining venture.
Sly believes that when this is done, the country could benefit more than the present percentage stated in the agreement.
“There will be elements of value addition that we will not take out the raw material and Ghana’s stake in that is quite significant. People should be able to speak to the numbers and let’s discuss this on the basis of the numbers, investments, risks and all other factors.
“That is why it is important that whoever has any information should come forward with it. I heard an interview of someone and the person has not even read the argument. So, people who have read it like the former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, are senior members of society. Even the council of state members, Samuel Okudzeto and all, are highly respected senior citizens of this country who I believe might have read it and they have lawyers and advisors. Whatever information they have, they should make it available to parliament, especially the Select Committee on Mines and Energy. We should be able to make all relevant documents available,” he continued.
The MP emphasised that if there are compelling arguments for more benefits, parliament can guide negotiations by proposing terms for amendment.
In the absence of that, the MP believes that the 10% in royalties and additional 9% stake in the mining process is the best for the country.
“At the time of signing this agreement, I am not sure the ministry set out to dupe this country. But it is also not to say that somebody wants to dupe this country, No. But whatever information available to them, they should make the same available to the committee or to parliament as it were. That will inform parliament’s own debate. We may not be experts in the field but if we have useful documents comparable to any other jurisdiction that you think will give Ghana an advantage, bring it. It is not enough to say that dont ratify the agreement, there must be a basis for the reasons that were not ratifying the agreement.
“Ghana stands to benefit but we want more. If that is the case, then, what are the compelling arguments that will push parliament to stand and tell them to amend this portion of the agreement and come back. It may be that when they go back, they will go and renegotiate based on the terms parliament will propose. So, it is not true to say that Ghana does not have a state in it all, we have a stake beyond the 10% royalties,” he added.
Below is what Ghana stands to get from the current lithium agreement with Barari DV
The following details are made available via a summarised form of the deal, as shared by Legal Counsel to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Kow Essuman.
Exceptional Deal: 10% royalties, surpassing the 5% norm
- Ghana will secure 10% in royalties from the lithium mining operations. This is 5% more than what Ghana gets from other minerals.
Empowering Ghana: 13% free carried interest above the standard 10%
- Beyond the standard 10%, Ghana will receive an additional 13% free carried interest, empowering the country economically and ensuring a more favourable distribution of benefits.
Strategic Shares: 6% in Barari DV and 3% in Atlantic Lithium held by IMF
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold 6% in Barari DV and 3% in Atlantic Lithium, providing Ghana with strategic shares that could foster international collaboration and financial stability.
Influence Voice: 2 board seats at Barari DV, 1 at Atlantic Lithium
- Ghana stands to gain influence with 2 board seats at Barari DV and 1 at Atlantic Lithium, allowing the country to actively participate in decision-making processes.
Stock Market Representation: 11% to share reserves for Ghanaians on Ghana Stock Exchange
- The lease agreement allocates 11% of the shares to be reserved for Ghanaians on the Ghana Stock Exchange, promoting local investment and participation in the burgeoning lithium industry
Community Commitment: 1% to Community Development Fund
- An aspect of the deal involves allocating 1% of the profits to a Community Development Fund, ensuring that the Ewoyaa community benefits directly from the mining activities.
Fair Contribution: 35% Corporate Tax plus additional taxes
- Barari DV is committing to a significant financial contribution, with a 35% corporate tax rate along with additional taxes, further enhancing the government’s revenue stream.
Value-Added Policy: No raw lithium export, only refined products
- To foster local industry and value addition, the agreement stipulates that only refined lithium products – not raw materials, can be exported, encouraging the growth of downstream industries.
Industrial Growth: Construction of a Lithium Refinery plant
- The lithium lease agreement includes provisions for the construction of a Lithium Refinery Plant, signalling a commitment to industrial growth and local value addition.
Additional Benefits: Feldspar by-product for Ghana’s ceramic industry
- In a move that could positively impact Ghana’s ceramic industry, the mining operations are expected to yield a feldspar by-product, providing raw materials for local manufacturing.