Kwame Jantuah
Kwame Jantuah

The Ghanaian government has been urged to put in place a comprehensive plan before the extraction of its new found mineral, Lithium in the Volta Region, some 85 km east of here.

Vice Chairman of the country’s Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Kwame Jantuah told Xinhua in an interview Ghana should not do things the same way it has done extracting other mineral resources including gold and oil.

He observed proper structures must be put in place to ensure the capacities of people living in resource rich communities are built to offer jobs to them.

“With the discovery of lithium, we shouldn’t do it the way we have done our gold, our diamond and other minerals. If it has to stay in the ground till we develop the capacity of the people in the area so that they too can get jobs out of it, it would be best,” Jantuah said.

Notwithstanding the financial challenges that confront the Ghanaian economy, he urged the political leadership to ensure there is value addition to the country’s commodities.

The Vice Chairman of the civil society accountability body observed, “In terms of the Lithium, we shouldn’t take out and export. Any company that wants to come and mine open a small processing company in the area so that we create more jobs, build capacity and make sure that the people in the community would benefit.

If you go to the Volta Region today, most of the area is covered with water everywhere you go; there is lack of employment and this is a good time to develop that part of the country.”

There is growing debate in the country for the government to stay off and allow the mineral to remain in the soil since the people have derived little or no benefit from the exploitation of gold, diamond, bauxite, salt and in recent times, oil and gas.

But Jantuah disagrees emphasizing, “I do not think that they should stay off, there has to be a comprehensive plan in place that will benefit the community first. That is what is most important; we haven’t been able to make sure that when we find minerals or a new commodity it benefits the ordinary person.”

Ghana announced the discovery of Lithium in commercial quantities in the south-eastern part of the capital, Accra in January 2018.

Chief Executive Officer for the Minerals Commission, Kwaku Addai Antwi-Boasiako, disclosed the mineral was identified during a nationwide exploration exercise.

He observed, “The mining activities will start but we want to attract investments into the Volta Region. That is where we have the Lithium and all these rare minerals. These are the minerals of the future. Lithium is about green energy and renewable energy.

So if you have Lithium and all these rare minerals in the Volta Region, you will want to expand the base of mineral production. The presence of these minerals is as important as having the money to mine them… for now, we know we have it.”

Antwi-Boasiako assured the Commission will follow due procedures before it considered issuing licenses to companies to mine the mineral, stressing it will consider electronic applications from interested investors to avoid issues of corruption.

Lithium, among the top 10 most expensive minerals in the world can be used for the manufacture of batteries, heat-resistant glass, and ceramics while Lithium stearate is mixed with oils to make all-purpose and high-temperature lubricants.

Lithium hydroxide is used to absorb carbon dioxide in space vehicles and it is alloyed with aluminum, copper, manganese, and cadmium to make high-performance alloys for aircraft.

Lithium metal has the highest specific heat of any solid element and it is sometimes used as battery anode material (high electrochemical potential).

Lithium-based compounds such as lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) are used as drugs to treat manic-depressive disorders. Enditem

Source: Francis Tandoh


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