Green minerals dev’t plan must prioritise value addition -report


By Joshua Worlasi AMLANU

The Africa Mineral Development Centre is urging the country to go beyond its current green minerals policy and implement a more comprehensive green minerals value-added development plan.

The AMDC, in its latest report, underscored the necessity of local value addition beyond the export of raw minerals for sustainable development.

Presenting the findings, economist and consultant for the report, Dr. Theo Acheampong, stated: “The Green Minerals Value-Added development plan would map out the entire value chain with practical, actionable steps on how Ghana can meaningfully participate in it, leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) power to become a regional precursor battery manufacturer”.

The report highlights the recent lithium discovery and underscores the potential economic gains from refining spodumene concentrate to battery-grade lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide. However, it stresses the necessity of additional investments, emphasising that mining companies might not engage in local refining unless part of a vertically integrated chain.

Assessments conducted using frameworks like the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) reveal Ghana’s satisfactory progress on key pillars, positioning the country in the advanced category of AMV implementation. The report commends Ghana for its legal and institutional framework, geological information system, fiscal regime, linkages, investment diversification, and addressing artisanal and small-scale mining and environmental issues.

Fiscal regime for green minerals

To further boost revenue and address price volatility in critical minerals like lithium, the report suggests the introduction of a new fiscal regime. This could involve sliding scale or variable royalties and a pricing benchmark for new critical minerals, learned from experiences in the oil and gas sector.

“This will also allow the government to risk share on the downside in case prices remain depressed—that is, the progressivity of the tax regime. Furthermore, another variation is a minimum fixed base royalty coupled with a sliding scale above the minimum scale,” it stated.

“Such an arrangement,” it adds, “could compensate and possibly remove the need for any after-tax adjusted windfall taxes, which are often very difficult to collect due to extractive companies’ accounting technicalities, including cost padding.”

The need for cross-institutional learning to improve revenue capture and administration is emphasised in the report. Strategies proposed include joint research projects, knowledge-sharing workshops, centralised data-sharing platforms, and investment in training programmes for government officials focused on critical minerals, environmental sustainability and effective revenue management.

Another critical recommendation is the enactment of a comprehensive Minerals Revenue Management Act (MRMA), akin to the petroleum sector. This legislation would cover all mining revenue streams, providing clear guidelines for the central government’s deposit and withdrawal of mineral revenues. It aims to ensure transparent management, savings and expenditure of mineral revenues, with separate accounts for stabilisation, future generations, and inter-generational equity.

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