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Nasarawa partners with NASENI for local lithium processing policy

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The Nasarawa State government and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) have announced a strategic partnership aimed at establishing a lithium processing policy.

This policy aims to enable the local processing of lithium mined within the state, rather than exporting it in its raw form.

The collaborative effort aligns with NASENI’s objective to promote the processing of strategic solid minerals, specifically with the aim of producing batteries locally for electric vehicles and other energy storage applications.

The announcement came during a courtesy visit by Nasarawa State’s Executive Governor, Abdullahi A. Sule, to the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NASENI, Bashir Gwandu at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja over the weekend. Nasarawa State is known for having substantial lithium deposits within its borders.

Notably, NASENI has recently attracted attention for its endeavors to encourage both international investors and Nigerian lithium stakeholders to collaborate on local lithium processing initiatives. This comprehensive effort spans the processing chain from mineral extraction and crushing to the production of final battery products, with applications for both domestic use and export.

In response to NASENI’s call, Chinese companies have begun expressing interest and visiting the agency.

Gwandu highlighted NASENI’s intention to partner with other government bodies such as the Rural Electricity Agency (REA), the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), and other investment institutions to facilitate this endeavor.

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Governor Sule expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration with NASENI, indicating that several companies are keen on investing in Nasarawa State for lithium processing, potentially reaching daily quantities of 1,000 to 3,000 metric tons.

He highlighted that the state could potentially process nearly 6,000 metric tons per day. Governor Sule likened the situation to a “Lithium Rush,” driven by the substantial increase in the global market price of lithium from $6,000 to $78,000 per metric ton.

Governor Sule also suggested the possibility of leveraging NASENI’s solar facility in Gora as a lithium processing and battery production plant due to its proximity to raw materials and the NASENI Solid Minerals Institute in Nasarawa town. He pledged support for NASENI and proposed a second economic summit titled “Lithium Rush Summit.”

Gwandu responded by acknowledging NASENI’s industrial machinery and equipment, which are available to local communities and small companies for capacity building and economic development.

He clarified that NASENI does not intend to build an airport but is working on establishing maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) and aircraft recycling operations (ARO) to serve the aerospace industry. He emphasized the importance of NASENI’s collaboration with the state for the successful execution of its mandates in science, technology, and innovation.

As discussions progress, NASENI anticipates active participation in the state’s lithium-related conferences.

Gwandu urged Governor Sule to advocate for NASENI within the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), noting that their support is pivotal to securing funds for NASENI’s operations.

The collaboration between Nasarawa State and NASENI seeks to position Nigeria as a key player in lithium production and processing, aligning with the nation’s aspirations for industrialization and technological advancement.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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