Produce Superior Arguments Lithium Deal Is Bad

 –Minister Tells Critics, Says ‘Our Doors Are Open To Jaw-Jaw’

By Gifty Arthur

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister has extended an open invitation to critics of Ghana’s lithium deal to come with superior arguments on the agreement with Barari DV Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of an Australian company, Atlantic Lithium Limited, for consideration.

Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor said as a sector ministry, their doors are open for discussion and would be happy to receive and listen to Ghanaians, institutions and anyone, including the former Chief Justice (CJ) Sophia Akuffo, who has alternative suggestions, proposals or arguments which are superior to what they have done.

“First of all, I am very happy and I want to say government is very happy to listen to superior argument or superior alternative or proposition from Ghanaians, institutions or society,” he said.

He indicated that, if a personality, like a former Chief Justice, puts forward an alternative, a critique, suggestion or proposals which are superior to what government is doing, the most important thing is that she puts it forward for deliberation for the contract to be restructured in the interest of Ghana.

But Mr. Jinapor said, “Unfortunately, we have not heard anything that the former Chief Justice has put on the table to say, for example, that the 10% royalty is not good, we should have gotten 15% or we negotiated for a community development fund, we should have done something else or that, this particular jurisdiction they did it that way so we should contact them, we have not gotten that.”

The minister, who was addressing the press last Thursday, December 7, at the Information Ministry, said “So, it may get a little difficult to confront some of these things that look, I am reluctant to get into banter with her or make comment which can potentially sound disrespectful, but really our doors are opened. If there is anything she has done, which is superior to what we have done, we are very happy to listen to her.”

Mr. Jinapor is also concerned about certain insinuations against persons who supported the deal as being people who have benefitted unduly from the transaction.

Madam Akuffo, in a recent interview with TV3, alleged “People’s undue benefits must be floating around somewhere that is why somebody will find this a perfect, wonderful lease agreement. There are all forms of extraction methods which are much better. A lease is not necessarily the best methodology, there are so many other best methodologies.”

“There is a joint venture, there is a service contract and even a service contract of many different permutations. This deal is not the best for Ghana,” she maintained.


The latest to have joined the fray against the deal is statesman and former Ghana Bar Association president, Lawyer Sam Okudzeto.

The respected New Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwart, speaking at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) programme yesterday, said the agreement is not in the interest of Ghanaians, hence it should be renegotiated.

According to the IEA, they will, in the coming days, petition President Akufo-Addo on the matter for the lithium agreement to be reviewed.

Unfair Comments

But the minister, who threw more light on the deal and matters arising, said that, even though he supports the deal, he has not benefitted from it in anyway, adding the claim is rather unfortunate with absolutely no basis.

According to him, the accusation is even more painful because the accusers provide no shred of evidence to back their claim.

He said the former Chief Justice should have come out with concrete evidence, rather than lumping everyone to soil their image.

“One other point she made is that anybody who supports this transaction must have benefitted unduly, here I am, I support the deal, I must have benefitted unduly? No evidence? No basis for that?” Jinapor contended.

“When I went to law school first year, Her Ladyship Sophia Akuffo taught me that the cardinal rule of the game is evidence, because this is brush to brush everybody who supports this transaction and more or less casts insinuation and compromise our integrity when we all know the rule of the game is evidence.

“Her ladyship [former] Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo oppose this transaction and more or less casts insinuation and compromise all of us our integrity when you all know the rule of the game is evidence and then she puts something on the table that Minister Jinapor has some hidden company offshore where he holds secret 5 percent in this company and that is why he is supporting the deal. Then we are having a proper conversation.

“But if you make this statement that everybody, anybody who supports this transaction must be benefiting from the transaction unduly. But her comments are to say the least most unfortunate,” he argued.


He pointed out that despite some Civil Society Organizations (CEOs) and individuals, labelling the deal as bad, there are very astute statesmen in the mining industry, who have applauded the deal as one of the best in Ghana’s history.

He wondered if such personalities who are hailing the deal can also be termed as also benefited unduly, as it is being claimed.

“Sam Jonah, Sam Jonah, one of the foremost leading mining administrators in our country, if I am not exaggerating, I am not too sure that there is anybody and co Ayisi and co inclusive who can match up to Sam Jonah’s pedigree when it comes to the mining sector of our country.

“Sam Jonah has come out publicly to say this is one of the best transactions Ghana is ever negotiated for in the mining industry.

“He is on record, it was published in the Daily Graphic, I read it. Per the logic respectfully, very respectfully, per the logic of the stateswoman, former Chief Justice, Sam Jonah is supposed to be benefiting unduly from this transaction,”Jinapor said.

According to him, “Bloomberg did a thorough analysis of this particular transaction. They came to the conclusion that it is one of the best an African country has transacted. Bloomberg, must be benefitting from this transaction.”

“Professor Richard Amankwa, Vice Chancellor of University of Mines and Technology, a foremost well renowned metallurgist, well respected in the mining industry, and nobody can dispute that. He is on record to have said that this is one of the best transactions we structured, he must also be benefitting from the deal.

“Dr. Kwabena Donkor, former Minister of Energy, former Ranking Member for Mines and Energy and former Chair. He is a huge member of the NDC and when it comes to matters of energy and power, he is an expert. He has done a critique of this transactions and raise one or two areas he believes we could have done better. But by and large and, on the whole, he thinks that it’s a good transaction.  Dr. Kwabena Donkor must be benefitting unduly.”

Despite touting Ghana’s first lithium agreement as the best, Mr. Jinapor and the government have come under criticism for leasing the mineral for something they call less.

Mr. Jinapor highlighted the unprecedented 10% royalty rate, the 19% state participation in Barari DV Limited, and the inclusion of a clause allowing the establishment of a lithium refinery within Ghana as evidence of the government’s commitment to maximizing the benefits of the project.

“Suffice for me to point out that it is the first time in the history of our country that we have successfully negotiated for 10 percent royalties for any mineral which is one of the highest for the exploration of any mineral across the world,” he said.

According to him, “All mining firms in Ghana from 1957 pay royalty rate of 5%. We successfully negotiated 10%, when you go to Australia it’s 5%, Mali is 6%, and Zimbabwe 5%, then somebody says it is a bad deal, throw it away.”


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