Miners Lament Foreigners Free Access to Nigerian Lithium Deposits

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CEM REPORT | The attention of the federal government has been called to the activities of Chinese miners “scavenging” for Lithium.

The Miners Association of Nigeria lamented the free access the federal government have granted the Chinese to the mining site.

The call was made by the National Secretary of the association, Dele Ayanleke, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

He noted that the rate at which the Chinese had invaded mining sites searching for lithium minerals was alarming.

He explained that lithium is one of the main materials for producing batteries used in powering electric cars, noting that the federal government should safeguard the mineral especially as the whole world is clamouring to go Green leaving fossil fuels behind.

“Chinese are moving from one mining site to the other, scavenging and mopping our raw lithium mineral at a cheap rate to develop their industries and economy.

“This is not good for the future of our economy; what this means is that Nigeria will end up buying electric batteries from them.

“The Government should safeguard our lithium and revive all the moribund companies producing batteries in Nigeria to start using the lithium to produce electric batteries.”

He also urged the FG to withdraw 100% ownership of minerals mined by foreign miners operating in Nigeria, stating that allowing the Chinese to have 100% mining assets is not good enough for the indigenous mining investors.

”Allowing the Chinese to enter into every mining site is one of the reasons kidnapping is on the increase in Nigeria because they are the major target for kidnappers.”

Lithium is a mineral used in making batteries and has witnessed a price rally over the last few years due to rising electronic vehicle demand which needs lithium to make its most expensive parts- the car batteries.

Recall that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that Nigeria’s mineral production grew by 39.19% in 2021, from 64.29 million tons recorded in 2020 to 89.48 million tons in 2021.

In the recently released GDP report for Q2 2022, The coal mining sector was the second largest growing sector, recording a 36.06% year-on-year growth in real terms in the review quarter, a significant uptick when compared to the decline of 12.97% recorded in the previous quarter. Notably, coal mining is the process of retrieving coal from deep below the earth’s surface. The sector has an aggregate of N4.79 billion in GDP, accounting for approximately 0.03% of the entire economy.

The 4 most mined minerals in Nigeria are granite at 22.3 million tonnes, laterite at 7.3 million tonnes; limestone at 44.7 million tonnes and sand, at 1.6 million tonnes.

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