The Federal Government is set to partner with the Nasarawa State government on a lithium processing policy that would ensure that Lithium mined in the State is processed locally instead of exporting it raw.
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Dr. Bashir Gwandu, disclosed this when the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule paid a courtesy visit to the agency.
Gwandu said the processing policy is in line with NASENI’s drive to encourage the processing of Strategic Solid Minerals and particularly to ensure that batteries are produced locally for both electric vehicles as well as other energy storage applications.
Nasarawa state is one of the states acknowledged to have potentially the largest deposits of lithium in Nigeria.
Call for investment
Gwandu recalled that NASENI recently made some efforts to encourage investors and Nigerian lithium off-takers from around the world to come and partner with it to process various combinations of lithium into batteries locally.
This will include lithium processing from mineral crushing and extraction all the way to final products that can be used both locally and also exported to other countries.
•“Some companies from China have already started visiting NASENI as a response to the call. NASENI will partner with other government agencies such as Rural Electricity Agency (REA), Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), and other investing institutions on this effort,” he said.
Gwandu said he was pleased that the Nasarawa state governor came to collaborate with NASENI in this regard.
According to him, a number of companies have indicated interest in investing in Nasarawa state to process lithium in various quantities ranging from 1,000-3,000 tonnes per day. So far, almost 6,000 tonnes per day are projected to be processed daily in Nasarawa alone.
Lithium rush in Nasarawa
On his part, Governor Sule said the companies have already indicated interest to process the 6,000 tonnes per day in Nasarawa state, adding that other states such as Kebbi, Kwara, etc., might also attract such kinds of companies and investments, and there is need for proper coordination, and for all hands to be on deck to ensure that Nigeria takes its place by being recognized as one of the largest lithium producers in the world.
The Governor added that there is something happening that is akin to Gold Rush which he termed the ‘Lithium Rush” happening in his state and this is because lithium price in the world market has jumped from $6,000 per metric tonne to $78,000 per metric tonne.
•“Nasarawa state has a large quantum of Lithium and hence the need to have a better working synergy with NASENI for purposeful exploration, extraction, and processing,” he said.
Engr. Sule urged NASENI to use its Solar in Gora as a lithium processing and battery production plant considering its proximity to the raw materials and the proximity to NASENI Solid Minerals Institute which is also located in Nasarawa town in the same state.
While promising to give the Agency the necessary support, he called for more collaborations with the State as it plans a second economic summit that would be tagged “Lithium Rush Summit”.