Processes are underway to set up Africa’s first-ever lithium refinery in Takoradi in the Western Region.
The US$500-million refinery is being established by a consortium of CAA Mining Ltd, Livista Energy, based in Luxembourg, and its Ghanaian subsidiary, Livista Ghana Ltd.
The lithium processing plant is part of a comprehensive plan to invest in the country’s budding lithium value chain in line with the Green Minerals Policy the government approved recently.
Among other measures, the Green Minerals Policy makes it mandatory for value to be added to lithium in the country rather than exporting it in its raw form.
The CEO of CAA Mining Limited, Douglas D. Chikohora, told the Daily Graphic that barring any hitches, the refinery would be completed and operationalised in 2026.
He said a parcel of 200-acre land within the Takoradi Port City had been earmarked to host the refinery.
Mr Chikohora added that preliminary discussions had been held with the Ghana Gas Company Limited for power extension and construction of a service pipeline from the existing pipeline grid to the refinery in April, this year.
The mining executive said when completed, the refinery would be the third of its kind in the world and the first on the continent.
However, Chikohora said the start of work on the refinery would depend on the issuance of a prospecting licence to Lithium Resources Ghana Ltd (LRGL), a joint venture of CAA Mining Ltd and local entity Empire Rare Earth and Metal Group Limited.
The company (LRGL) has invested US $2 million into exploration for Lithium on a 646-square kilometre (KM2) concession on the lithium corridor along Awutu-Bereku and Mankessim in the Central Region.
It has also committed to rolling out a $10 million lithium drilling programme before the end of the year, subject to the issuance of a prospecting licence by the Minerals Commission.
“Once we get the prospecting licence and start drilling, the volumes we get will determine the size of the refinery we should put up,” he said.
Chikohora said the lithium consortium was aware of the country’s green minerals policy and was prepared to invest in the value chain.
He added that the location of the refinery in Ghana was strategic as it would feed on the country’s lithium and others from African countries such as DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Mali, Namibia and South Africa.
“There are only two places where lithium is refined in the world, and that is China and the US. In Africa, there is no refinery for lithium, so if we set up the refinery in Ghana, it will be the third in the world and first in Africa.
Based on this, the refinery in Ghana will be pan-African in nature since the lithium from other parts of the continent will be refined here,” Chikohora said.
He added that there would be an industrial boom in the country when the refinery was set up because other industries such as battery manufacturers and vehicle assembly plants would blossom.
“Apart from the mining and refining jobs, people are going to be producing refined lithium here.
There will be battery producing companies, vehicle assembly plants and many other job opportunities,” he stressed.
In terms of local content, Chikohora said LRGL was a joint venture between a foreign and local firm, with an indigenous business model that cascaded through the value chain.
He also said LRGL had begun discussions with the Mining Income Investment Fund (MIIF) to be part of the investment in the lithium value chain as a shareholder to deepen the local content requirement.
“We have signed a market development agreement with MIIF, so they know what we are doing,” he said.
Chikohora also said the consortium was planning to launch its social responsibility programme this year to outline the area of support it would offer host communities.
He said the company had been in constant touch with the host communities for the priority areas of the CSR activities.
“We can launch the social responsibility programme by the end of September, depending on the state of the licence,” he said.
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