• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Tinubu welcomes Nigeria’s largest lithium plant


President Bola Tinubu welcomed the opening of Nigeria’s largest lithium ore processing plant in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

He expressed this during a Friday meeting in Abuja with Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, Hi Yongwei, chairman of Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited, and Zhenhua Pei, chairman of Canmax Technologies.

Avatar, a Chinese company, constructed the plant with a production capacity of 4,000 metric tonnes per day. Canmax Technologies, known for its contribution to global battery material production, plans to invest $200 million in another lithium processing facility in Nasarawa State.

Speaking at the meeting, Tinubu emphasised the importance of environmental protection, community involvement, and corporate social responsibility for the Chinese companies.

He highlighted Nigeria’s potential as a market for solar panels and batteries, citing the country’s skilled labor force and technological adaptability.

He stressed the need for cooperation and community care in mining operations.

The president expressed his support for the companies’ success and expansion, emphasising Nigeria’s readiness for business and its role as a favorable investment destination in Africa.

“There are other aspects of lithium that you are exploring in the country, especially in battery production. Nigeria is a huge market for solar panels. Africa is a major consumer of solar technologies. I do not see why these panels and batteries cannot be produced here.

“The labour is cheaper. Our youths are vibrant and skilled. Our people are brilliant and adapt to new technology. The economy is increasingly more vibrant, and Nigeria is dependable. We have the consumption capacity and a surplus of steady-handed citizens with gifted minds and an innate drive to work and produce.

”You must not leave the community in ruins as you explore for our high-grade minerals. You must be concerned with cooperation and always care for the community.

”You can always promote the interest of China and Nigeria as the best place in Africa to do business. We are preparing to produce in this country the solar technologies that the entire continent will use,” the president said.

Sule expressed gratitude for the president’s support in solid mineral development and mentioned the newly commissioned company’s potential for lithium mining in the region.

“The company that we just commissioned today in Nasarawa is a 500-million-dollar turnover company. They are happy, and they have seen enough potential to mine lithium in the region for the next 15 to 20 years,’’ the governor said.

Dele Alake, minister of Solid Minerals, discussed measures to address risks from abandoned mines and requirements for mining license applicants to ensure local value enhancement and economic empowerment.

The Chinese executives acknowledged the value of their investments in Nigeria and committed to complying with mining regulations and fulfilling their responsibilities to the communities.