Home » Lithium Boom: How Ghana’s First Lithium Mine Could Transform the Country’s Economy

Lithium Boom: How Ghana’s First Lithium Mine Could Transform the Country’s Economy

A landmark project for Ghana and West Africa

by Motoni Olodun
Ewoyaa lithium project

Ghana is set to become the first country in West Africa to produce lithium, a key component in electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy storage systems. The Ewoyaa lithium project, developed by Atlantic Lithium, is expected to start production in 2025 and reach its full capacity of 365,000 tonnes of lithium annually in 2026.

The project is located in the central region of Ghana, about 100km southwest of the capital Accra. It covers two contiguous licenses, Mankessim and Mankessim South, where spodumene-bearing lithium mineralization occurs in two dominant pegmatite trends, Ewoyaa and Abonko. Spodumene is a mineral that contains lithium and is used to produce lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide, the main chemicals used in battery manufacturing.

According to a definitive feasibility study (DFS) announced in June 2023, the project has a mine life of 12 years and will produce 3.6 million tonnes of spodumene concentrate. The project has a capital cost of $240 million and an after-tax net present value (NPV) of $1.1 billion at an 8% discount rate. The project has an internal rate of return (IRR) of 125% and a payback period of 1.2 years.

The project is expected to create about 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and operation and generate significant tax revenues and royalties for the Ghanaian government. The project will also support local infrastructure development, such as roads, power lines, and water supply.

The project has received strong support from the Ghanaian government, which has a 6% stake in the project through the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF). The MIIF agreed to invest $32.9 million in the project in September 2023, subject to pending approvals. The other shareholders are Atlantic Lithium and Piedmont Lithium, holding 47% of the project.

Piedmont Lithium is an Australian company with a lithium project in North Carolina, USA, and a stake in North American Lithium, the only lithium mine in North America that is already producing commercially. Piedmont Lithium plans to use the lithium feedstock from Ghana as feedstock for its planned 30,000 tonnes per year lithium hydroxide conversion plant in Tennessee, USA. Piedmont Lithium has customers such as Tesla and LG Chem, among others.

The Ewoyaa lithium project comes when global demand for lithium is expected to soar due to the rapid growth of electric vehicles and renewable energy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global lithium demand could increase by more than tenfold by 2040 under its sustainable development scenario. However, global lithium supply is expected to lag behind demand, creating a supply gap and increasing prices.

The Ewoyaa lithium project could position Ghana as a strategic supplier of lithium in the global market and help diversify its economy away from traditional commodities such as gold, cocoa, and oil. The project could also pave the way for further exploration and development of other lithium deposits in Ghana and the region.

The Ewoyaa lithium project exemplifies how mining can contribute to Africa’s sustainable development and green transition. The project could inspire other African countries to tap into their mineral potential and leverage their natural resources for economic growth and social progress.

Source: MiningNews.net

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