The Minister for Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta has on Wednesday, 15th November, 2023 has presented the budget statement and economic policy of Ghana for the 2024 fiscal year.
Speaking on efforts made by Government in the Mining sector, the Minister said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources through the Minerals Commission has installed 69 tracking devices to track the movement of earth moving machines and mining equipment nationwide, in compliance with the Minerals and Mining Regulations 2020 (L.I. 2404).
He also mentioned that Minerals Commission procured and distributed 5,087,706 hybrid oil-palm seedlings and 1,750,000 coconut seedlings to beneficiary farmers in the Ashanti, Central and Eastern Regions under the Alternative Livelihood Project. In addition, the Commission reclaimed a total of 462.01ha of degraded mined-out areas in the Ashanti, Central and Western North Regions. Adding that in 2024, the Commission will continue to reclaim more degraded mined-out areas.
On the Gold for Oil, the Minister said the Bank of Ghana has purchased 17.89 tonnes of gold to boost the country’s gold reserves. The move, he said has contributed immensely to stabilising the cedi/dollar exchange rate and reduced price of petroleum (gasoil) from GHs.23 per litre to GHs 12 per litre.
Touching on developments in the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) he said through their strategic partners, GIADEC has completed the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) Report that has been prepared in line with Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) standards.
He indicated that the results of the report shows significant bauxite quantities making the project a commercially viable one. In 2024, the corporation along with their partners will undertake the drilling
and MRE for Project 3 and commence Valco retrofit and Project 2 mine
He continued with the Ghana Integrated Iron & Steel Development Corporation
(GIISDEC) which he said has completed a strategic conceptual layout to guide growth, promotion, and development of the integrated iron and the steel industry.
The Master plan has been reviewed and given a seal of approval by KPMG and ready for the industry. He added that to ensure that various mineral discoveries and inferred deposits of iron ore are commercially viable, a high-level Mineral Resource study has been commissioned by GIISDEC working with its Private Partners.
This capital intensive activity has been offloaded to Ghanaian Private Partners to produce a standard Bankable report at no cost to Government of Ghana. This is to ensure that the Integrated Iron and Steel Industry (IISI) is not faced with the continuous decline of domestic production and processing of metallic minerals and the associated dependence on foreign supplies for our needs.
The Finance Minister opined that a new and exciting opportunity in the sector is Ghana’s newfound wealth in lithium and graphite, which will be extracted in line with the Green Minerals Policy, to support our energy transition.
He revealed that on 19th October, 2023, Government granted its first concession for the mining of lithium, which is guaranteed to be a major contributor to Ghana’s GDP from 2025.
On the Atlantic Lithium mining project, which is projected to produce some 360,000 tonnes of lithium a year, Government he noted has also negotiated a 10 percent royalty and a record-high 13 percent free carried interest for the State. The company will also pay one percent of its revenue and another one percent for the Growth and Stabilisation Levy.
Hon. Ofori Atta also disclosed that The Minerals Income Investment Fund, (MIIF) has acquired a 6 percent contributing interest in Atlantic Lithium’s Ghana Portfolio. “This will lead us to a new negotiation posture for future extractive industry investments.”
On the Forestry sector, the Hon. Ofori-Atta presented to Parliament that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources organised the third edition of the Green Ghana Day Initiative in June, under the theme: “Our Forests, Our Health” with 11,531,914 seedlings including forest, fruit, ornamental and multi-purpose trees distributed for planting.
He updated the house that out of the seedlings distributed, 7,125,955 were for planting in the forest reserves whereas 4,404,717 were for the off-reserve landscapes.
In addition, he said the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry established a total area of 3,132ha of forest plantation
under the National Afforestation Programme with 5.8 million seedlings, including ofram, emire, wawa, kokrodua, teak, cedrela, gmelina, cassia, eucalyptus and mahogany distributed.