Ghana’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has awarded a mining lease for the Ewoyaa lithium project located in the West African country.

US-based lithium resources supplier Piedmont Lithium and its partner Atlantic Lithium, an Australian lithium exploration and development company, are developing the lithium project.

The mining lease grants exclusive rights to undertake lithium mining and commercial production activities for an initial period of 15 years. It is renewable in accordance with the Ghanaian legislation.

The issuance of the mining lease is conditional on the ratification by the Ghanaian parliament.

It comes after Ghana’s sovereign minerals fund Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) signed a non-binding heads of terms last month to invest $27.9m to acquire a 6% stake in the Ewoyaa lithium project.

Ghana MIIF will also invest an additional $5m in Atlantic Lithium to help further in the development of the proposed lithium project.

The commencement of construction at the Ewoyaa lithium project also requires an approval by the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana. The permitting process for the Ghanaian lithium project is anticipated to be finalised in the second half of 2024.

Piedmont Lithium holds a 9% equity interest in Atlantic Lithium. The former also exercised its option to acquire an initial 22.5% interest in the Ewoyaa project in August 2023, which is subject to government approvals.

Besides, the American company has a right to earn an additional 27.5% interest in the lithium project, subject to satisfying certain funding requirements. This will lead to Piedmont Lithium and Atlantic Lithium each owning 50% of the Ewoyaa lithium project.

Furthermore, Piedmont Lithium holds an offtake agreement to purchase 50% of lithium concentrate production at the Ewoyaa project for the life of the mine.

Piedmont Lithium chief operating officer and Atlantic Lithium non-executive director Patrick Brindle said: “The issuance of Ghana’s first mining lease for lithium demonstrates clear support for the Ewoyaa Lithium Project and the opportunity it presents for the country and local communities.

“This milestone also reinforces Piedmont’s plans to utilise Ewoyaa material as feedstock for the proposed 30,000 metric ton per year Tennessee-based lithium hydroxide conversion facility.”