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Energy: NASENI, Nasarawa to partner on formulating lithium processing policy

L-R: Dr. Bashir Gwandu, Executive Vice-Chairman/CEO of NASENI (l), and Governor (Engr.) Abdullahi A. Sule of Nasarawa State When the Latter Paid a Courtesy visit to NASENI Headquarters.         Photo: NASENI

*The Nasarawa State Government of Nigeria and National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure are set to partner on a lithium processing policy to encourage the processing of Strategic Solid Minerals, particularly to ensure batteries are produced locally for both electric vehicles and other energy storage applications

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Nasarawa State Government and National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) are set to partner on a lithium processing policy to ensure the resource mined in the state is processed locally before exportation.

The regulatory in a statement issued Monday, August 21, 2023, and signed by Mr. Olusegun Ayeoyenikan, Director of Information and Protocol at NASENI, said the processing policy was 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.

NASENI noted Governor (Engr.) Abdullahi A. Sule of Nasarawa State disclosed this during a courtesy visit to Dr. Bashir Gwandu, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NASENI, at the weekend at the Agency’s headquarters, in Abuja, FCT.

ConsumerConnect reports Nasarawa State is one of the states acknowledged to have potentially the largest deposits of lithium in the West African country.

Ayeoyenikan said the agency recently made headlines on its efforts at encouraging investors and Nigerian lithium offtakers from around the world to partner with it to process various combinations of lithium into batteries locally.

The NASENI Director of Information and Protocol noted this would 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, said the agency.

Dr. Gwandu also disclosed that NASENI would partner with other government agencies, such as Rural Electricity Agency (REA), Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), and other investing institutions on this effort.

The EVC/CEO of the agency stated that he was pleased that the Nasarawa State Governor would collaborate with NASENI in this regard.

Meanwhile, NASENI has disclosed that some companies have indicated interested in investing in Nasarawa State to process lithium in various quantities, ranging from 1,000-3,000 tonnes per day.

According to the agency, almost 6,000 tonnes per day are projected to be processed daily in Nasarawa alone.

Governor Sule also said the companies had already indicated interest to process the 6,000 tonnes per day in the state.

The governor asserted that other states, such as Kebbi, Kwara, etc., might also attract such kind of companies and investments, and there is a need for proper coordination.

It is essential that all hands are on deck to ensure that Nigeria takes its place of recognition as one of the largest lithium producers in the world.

Sule further said there is something happening that is akin to Gold Rush, which he termed ‘Lithium Rush” happening in his state.

This is because lithium price in the world market has jumped from $6,000 per metric tonnes to $78,000 per metric tonnes, stated he.

The governor also said: “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 Sule, NASENI is considering the number of projects that are adding value to the economy of his state.

He, therefore, urge that the NASENI Solar in Gora may be used as lithium processing and battery production plant, considering its proximity to the raw materials and the NASENI Solid Minerals Institute, which is also located in Nasarawa town in the same state.

Promising to give the regulatory agency necessary support, the Nasarawa State Governor called for more collaborations with the state as it plans a second economic summit to be tagged “Lithium Rush Summit”.

Gwandu noted during a recent visit to Nasarawa,  he had encouraged the Institute to allow the use of its machines by the local communities and small companies for efficient utilisation and capacity building and for economic development.

The governor, who stated that he heard NASENI is planning to build an airport urged the agency to utilise the state’s cargo airport for evacuation of its products.

Dr. Gwandu , however, clarified that NASENI did not have any plan to build an airport, but is working on establishing an MRO/ARO as part of the agency ‘s efforts at developing capacity for both maintenance and eventual aircraft parts production to service aerospace industry.

According to him, this facility is likely to be sited in Abuja in view of its location and electricity supply.

The Executive Vice-Chairman promised that NASENI would actively participate in any conference by the state with regard to lithium.  NASENI Institutes have industrial machineries, other equipment and workforce that were readily available to lead Nigeria to industrialise and achieve a diversified economy.

He, nonetheless, said doing this requires huge funds outlay to fulfil the agency’s mandate.

Gwandu then, requested Governor Sule to be one of the ambassadors of NASENI in the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF). The NGF holds key to the release of NASENI’s held up funds, noted he.

Besides, Gwandu said the state governors’ support is key to enabling the agency to carry out its works in the areas of science, technology and innovation (STI), geared towards the industrial development in the states of the Federation.

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