West African nation reveals presence of prized mineral in commercial quanties
By Nsikan Ikpe
The West African nation of Ghana has announced the discovery of large amounts of lithium in commercial quantities.
The mineral which is said to be largely deposited in the Volta region is reckoned to be one of the world’s 10 most prized minerals and its discovery and mining would definitely bring a veritable boost to the economy of the former Gold Coast.
Remarkably, the news is coming on the heels of the very uplifting announcement by the World Bank that the Ghanaian economy, which is projected to grow at 8.3 percent this year, would be the world leader in 2018.
Announcing the find in Accra, Ghana Minerals Commission Chief Executive, Kwaku Addai Antwi-Boasiako, revealed that the mineral was identified during a nationwide exploration exercise. He also spelt out the modus operandi for its exploration.
“The mining activities will start but we want to attract investments into the Volta Region, that is where we have the Lithium and all these rare minerals. These are the minerals of the future. Lithium is about green energy and renewable energy. So if you have lithium and all these rare minerals in the Volta Region, you will want to expand the base of mineral production.”
The mining chief also outlined that two issues that were associated with the find had to do with sourcing the funds to mine them as well as ensuring that the discovery sites are not encroached upon by illegal miners; which had indeed become a commonplace practice across the continent.
He also affirmed that the Commission will follow due process procedures in the issuance of licenses to firms interested in exploring this and other minerals in the country, adding that the preference is for automated, electronic applications.
Scientists say that both the lithium metal and its derivative compounds have many uses. Lithium can be used for the manufacture of heat-resistant glass and ceramics while Lithium stearate is mixed with oils to make all-purpose and high-temperature lubricants. On its part, Lithium hydroxide is used to absorb carbon dioxide in space vehicles
Equally, Lithium is alloyed with aluminum, copper, manganese, and cadmium to make high-performance alloys for aircraft.
Additionally, Lithium metal has the highest specific heat of any solid element and its sometimes used as battery anode material (high electrochemical potential). Lithium compounds are used in dry cells and storage batteries, and lithium-based compounds such as lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) are used as drugs to treat manic-depressive disorders.
President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana