The Nasarawa State government has gone into partnership with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to start local processing of lithium that is being mined in the State instead of exporting it as raw material.
Information reaching us said that the processing policy is in line with NASENI’s drive to encourage the processing of Strategic Solid Minerals and to ensure that batteries are produced locally for both electric vehicles as well as other energy storage applications.
The partnership move was made known when the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule visited the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NASENI, Dr. Bashir Gwandu, at the Agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
Nasarawa state is one of the states acknowledged to have potentially the largest deposits of lithium in Nigeria.
Recently NASENI has made headlines on its efforts to encourage investors and Nigerian lithium offtakers 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 export to other countries.
Some companies from China have already started visiting NASENI as a response to the call. Dr. Gwandu said during the visit that 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 expressed joy that Nasarawa state governor is coming to collaborate with NASENI in this regard.
“A number of companies have indicated interested 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.”
Governor Sule said that the companies have already indicated interest to process the 6,000 tonnes per day in Nasarawa state.
He said that other states such as Kebbi, Kwara, etc., might also attract such kind of companies and investments.
According to him, there is need for proper coordination 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 sai that there is something happening that is akin to Gold Rush which he termed ‘Lithium Rush” happening in his state.
He said that this is because lithium price in the world market has jumped from $6,000 per metric tonnes to $78,000 per metric tonnes. “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.”
According to Governor Sule, NASENI has been useful to the state, considering the number of projects that are adding value to the economy of his state.
He suggested that the NASENI Solar in Gora may be used as lithium processing and battery production plant, considering its proximity to the raw materials and to the NASENI Solid Minerals institute, located in Nasarawa town.
While promising to give the Agency necessary support, he called for more collaborations with the State as it plans a second economic summit that would be tagged “Lithium Rush Summit.”