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Over 10 int’l firms target Nigeria lithium

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By Usman Oladimeji

Notable upswing and rising prices has been experienced in the lithium market.

In recent years, Nigeria made a momentous discovery of substantial reserves of Lithium, an highly reactive metallic element utilized in the production of energy-dense rechargeable batteries for technological devices such as mobile phones, electric automobiles, and grid storage systems. The market has experienced a notable upswing, with a substantial rise in price of a metric tonne of lithium, in the face of the burgeoning fascination with sustainable energy sources. Today, the pursuit of the resource in Nigeria is attracting attention, as the level of competition intensifies. A tonne of lithium now costs more than $61,000 in 2022, up from £4,600 in 2020.

Foreign investors have been attracted to Nigeria because of the high-grade lithium found there. The lithium oxide content discovered during start exploration and mining ranged from 1% to 13%, making this resource “high grade” in comparison to the 0.4-6% lithium oxide content considered the industry standard globally. Over ten mining companies expressed interest in investing in Nigeria as proceedings closed at the 21st Africa Down Under conference in Perth, Australia, praising the country’s enormous lithium potential and mining plan.

Achievements by investors show Nigeria as the most lucrative hub.

Investors who visited the Ministry of Solid Minerals’ booth at the Pan Pacific Hotel venue, have decided to capitalize on the alluring array of incentives that were presented by the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr. Dele Alake, during the fourth session of the event. Alake presented a persuasive case for allocating resources towards the development of Nigerian mining sector. This includes plans to establish the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation, which would serve as a vital link between the international mining industry and Nigeria, noting that the legislation allows investors to repatriate their profits.

He stated that a big step to demonstrate the government’s willingness to support investors is the large investment in geoscientific investigation of the country’s minerals, their quality and quantity to enable investors to predict the costs of their investments and the profits they may make with high certainty. Given the considerable prevalence of the rare resource in Nigeria, a mineral that has garnered immense interest in the automobile sector, Alake asserts that the achievements made by investors like Basin Limited in their Jupiter project, mining the resource in the north, and Lithium King investments in the southwest, confirmed Nigeria as the most lucrative hub for this invaluable resource.

Nigeria beckons with open arms to prospective investors.

The minister provided reassurances to investors regarding safety, emphasising that the government has granted a 30-day ultimatum to illicit miners to align themselves with cooperative entities. Furthermore, the government intends to implement surveillance task forces and mine police units to effectively counteract criminal activities within the mining sector. Nigeria beckons with open arms to prospective investors, offering a fertile ground for economic endeavours. With steadfast commitment to ongoing reforms in the solid minerals sector, the nation pledges a business friendly environment and promising returns on investments to all their investment

Dr. Stevens Davies and partner Hugh Morgan of Basin Limited supported Alake’s claim in their presentations on the Jupiter project, saying that the resources reserves in various regions of Nigeria are situated in proximity to the surface and are best excavated by quarrying. It added that the company is currently engaged in the development of a nickel project that has exhibited promising potential in Nigeria. Also, investors have lauded the proposed Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation as a commendable stride towards progress. David Gardner, a mining investor from the United Kingdom and Ghana, expressed to the minister his renewed enthusiasm for investment induced by the roadmap.

Several investors at the forum showed interest in the sector.

Among the distinguished attendees at the mining forum were several investors who showed a very keen interest in Nigerian mining sector. These include Guy Le Page, Director, RM Capital; Ossama Aasriou, Head, Procurement, Distribution & Marketing, CTA Group; Mark Atta-Danso, chairman, Stakeholder Engagement, African Mining Professionals Association of Australia. Also present was Smart Bateman, managing director, Innov-Africa; Oumar Baba Sy, managing director, TAMIPA, David Abott, business development manager, Xcalibur and Doug Horak, Business Development Manager, Intertek, Australia.

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