Another vista for Nigeria’s non-oil revenue generation
As investors move in to explore, exploit
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, Monday, disclosed discovery of high lithium grade in Nigeria, which also is one of the world’s most important solid minerals.
This was made known by the Director General, NGSA, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, during a media interaction held in Abuja.
Garba said lithium is hot cake now, and luckily Nigeria has it in several parts of the country.
He also said the occurrences are of high grade, which serves as a point of attraction to investors as they eagerly want to pay huge sums of money for some of the dataset generated by the agency.
Meanwhile, according to U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2022, Lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
The survey also indicated Events, Trends, and Issues: excluding U.S. production, worldwide lithium production in 2021 increased by 21 per cent to approximately 100,000 tons from 82,500 tons in 2020 in response to strong demand from the lithium-ion battery market and increased prices of lithium. Global consumption of lithium in 2021 was estimated to be 93,000 tons, a 33 per cent increase from 70,000 tons in 2020.
Spot lithium carbonate prices in China (cost, insurance, and freight [c.i.f.] North Asia) increased from approximately $7,000 per tonne in January to about $26,200 per tonne in November. For fixed contracts, the annual average U.S. lithium carbonate price was $17,000 per ton in 2021, more than double that in 2020. Spot lithium hydroxide prices in China (c.i.f. North Asia) increased from approximately $9,000 per ton in January to about $27,400 per ton in November.
Spot spodumene (6% lithium oxide) prices in China (c.i.f. China) increased from approximately $450 per ton in January to about $2,300 per ton in November. Spot lithium metal (99.9% lithium) prices in China increased from approximately $77,000 per ton in January to about $97,000 per tonne in July.
Lithium remains a valuable and indispensable mineral composite for glass, aluminum, mobile phone batteries, laptops, digital cameras, electric vehicles, and others.
He said: “Nigeria lithium is hot cake now, the mineral was discovered in several parts of the country in the course of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) during exploration and we did investigation and came up with analysis and discovered that Nigeria lithium is of high grade.
“High grade in the sense that the standard worldwide for even exploration and mining starts from 0.4 per cent lithium oxide but when we started exploration and mining, we saw one per cent up to 13 per cent lithium oxide content.
“Another advantage of Nigeria lithium is hard rock lithium found and that is what investors are looking out for worldwide.
Meanwhile, the NGSA boss disclosed that, “We even heard discussion with some private companies with mining licenses in Nigeria and they conducted test on the lithium and we also collaborated with Canada on that too.
He said that all data received from NIMEP were quite exciting and would boost the economy.
NIMEP is a hallmark project that provides reliable geo-sciences information needed by investors to make the right mining investment decisions in Nigeria.
Speaking further, he said a track of mineralisation almost two to 10 km was discovered close to Abuja.
On the resource evaluation conducted on the area, he said anomolous Gold, Lead and Silver were discovered with Tungsten.
“Gold mineralisation found there has high content of tungsten which is used as an additive in the production of steel, therefore, any company mining there will be mining Gold associated with Lead, Silver and Tungsten”, he added.
Following reliable geoscience data generated on solid minerals across the country, the interest and enthusiasm of both local and international investors have tremendously increased due to data set generated by NGSA, and the DG said soon companies that had shown interest on those data would be announced.
“What we want to do is we are projecting to we concession the area s that are free through the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, NMCO, so interested investors can get licence and data and take it to the next level.
“These are the things we are looking at and working on to ensure that the data we generate are useful to investors”, he stated.