Ghana greenlights first lithium mine with eye on electric vehicle boom

ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghana’s government has approved its first lithium mine run by a subsidiary of Australia-based Atlantic Lithium Limited, the West African country said on Thursday, part of its drive to benefit from a global move towards electric vehicles.

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources granted Barari DV Ghana Limited a 15-year lease on the mine at Ewoyaa, on Ghana’s southern coast, where the company began exploring for lithium six years ago.

The prospect is highly valued by Ghana as it seeks to play a role in producing a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries, demand for which is soaring as countries look to phase out fossil-fuel cars.

As part of the deal, Ghana has increased the royalty rate to 10% from the standard 5% and the state’s interest in the project to 13% from 10%, the ministry said in a statement.

On top of the state’s stake, Ghana’s Minerals Income Investment Fund will acquire another 6% in the mining operation, and 3.06% in Atlantic Lithium.

The company will also work on developing a lithium processing plant to maximise the economic benefit of a mineral it has often shipped to China for processing, the ministry added.

Atlantic Lithium declined to comment.

(Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Richard Chang)