Nasarawa State, National Agency for Science to partner on lithium processing policy

The Nasarawa State Government and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) are set to partner on a lithium processing policy that would ensure that Lithium mined in the State is processed locally instead of exporting it raw.

Penpushing reports that this was made known when Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule paid a courtesy visit to Dr. Bashir Gwandu, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the agency at the headquarters in Abuja

The statement by the Director of Information and Protocol of the agency Mr. Olusegun Ayeoyenikan pointed out that Nasarawa state is one of the states acknowledged to have potentially the largest deposits of lithium in Nigeria.

Penpushing further reports that Ayeonikan explained that the processing policy is in line with agency 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.

The statement added that recently the agency 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.

Penpushing also reports that Ayeonikan stated that 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.

The Executive Vice Chairman disclosed that some companies from China have already started visiting the establishment as a response to the call, assuring that the agency will partner with other government agencies such as Rural Electricity Agency (REA), Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) and other investing institutions on this effort.

Penpushing reports that he said he was pleased that the Nasarawa State Governor is coming to collaborate with National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (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’, the statement reads.

Penpushing further reports that the Governor on his part, said the companies have already indicated interest to process the 6,000 tonnes per day in Nasarawa state, adding that other states such as Kebbi, Kwara among others  might also attract such kind of companies and investments, and there is need for proper coordination, and 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 added that there is something happening that is akin to Gold Rush which he termed ‘Lithium Rush” happening in his state and this is because lithium price in the world market has jumped from $6,000 per metric tonnes to $78,000 per metric tonnes.

Penpushing also reports that the Governor boasted that Nasarawa state has a large quantum of Lithium, hence the need to have a better working synergy with National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) for purposeful exploration, extraction and processing.

The Governor added that considering the number of projects that are adding value to the economy of his state, therefore urged that the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Solar in Gora may be used as lithium processing and battery production plant considering its proximity to the raw materials and also the proximity to the agency Solid Minerals institute which is also located in Nasarawa town in the same state.

Penpushing reports that 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”.

The Governor stated that during recent visit to Nasarawa state he had encouraged the Institute to allow the use of its machines by the local communities and small companies for efficient utilization and capacity building and for economic development.

Penpushing further reports that the Governor who stated that he heard that the agency was planning on building an airport, urged it to utilise the State’s cargo airport for evacuation of its products.

The agency boss in response to the Governor’s request explained that National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) does not have any plan to build an airport, but is working on establishing an MRO/ARO as part of  efforts to develop capacity for both maintenance and eventual aircrafts parts production to service aerospace industry which is likely to be sited in Abuja in view of its location and electricity supply.

Penpushing also reports that he promised that the agency will actively participate in any conference by the State with regard to lithium, adding that National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Institutes have industrial machineries and other equipment and workforce that were readily available to lead Nigeria to industrialize and achieve a diversified economy but doing this requires huge funds outlay to fulfil the agency’s mandate.

The Chief Executive Officer requested the Governor to be one of the ambassadors of National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), noting that Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) holds key to the release of agency’s held up funds.

Penpushing reports that in addition he said the Governors support is key to enabling the agency carry out its works in the areas of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), geared towards the industrial development at the States.

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