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Nigeria’s minerals deposit worth $700billion-Minister

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By Victoria Onehi

Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, says  Nigeria’s minerals deposit is worth $700billion.

Alake who was speaking at a special session on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, said the nation’s mineral resources make it one of the top 10 players in the energy sector. 

The minister spoke on the topic: “From critical minerals to energy transition: Africa in the driver’s seat” at the event organised by the Corporate Council of Africa. 

He said despite being behind of other African countries in mining, Nigeria’s mineral deposit is valued at over $700bn with very huge potential to increase. 

Speaking broadly of the continent, Alake said Africa is fit for the driver’s seat of the global energy transition that will be driven by critical minerals.

He said: “Nigeria has always occupied a special position in global energy discourse. Nigeria played a vital role as a key oil exporter during the era of hydrocarbon and became a top 10 exporter of oil. As the face of global energy changes, Nigeria once again emerges as a key supplier of gas which we know is an important energy transition fuel today. 

“Last year in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Nigeria was one of the top exporters of LNG to Europe and was the 6th largest LNG global exporter in 2022. As you can see, there is a clear trend, whenever Nigeria is active in the global energy space, it emerges a top 10 global player and it will be no different with critical minerals.”Alake said 

The Minister further stated that Nigeria is endowed with a vast deposit of minerals critical to the new world. 

“In our new world mobility requires a new form of energy driven by minerals in our new electric vehicle world; technology is more mineral-dependent; our energy source will depend more on the energy converted from the sun and other sources; and energy storage is even more mineral reliant.”

Deputy Director (Information) Ministry of Solid Minerals, Alaba Balogun in a statement disclosed that the Minister traced the transition from different sources of energy to the now prominent renewable sources of energy. 

“The shift from fossil-based energy systems to renewable energy such as wind and solar has meant that minerals that were not a part of general and public parlance have become a part of everyday speech. Today, lithium for example is woven through everyday conversations and this only just the beginning. 

“Without a doubt, minerals are a major focus of our world today and rightly so. Nigeria is well positioned to play an important role in our new world. Our Solid mineral sector is valued at over USD$700bn and we know there is more to be discovered. Endowed with critical minerals, Nigeria should not and dare I say, cannot be ignored.

“We may not have a strong historic mining history like some of our neighbours such as Ghana, Mali and those in the South such as South Africa, Botswana, etc. but things are about to change,” he added. 

According to him, Lithium hosted pegmatite rocks are available in Nigeria across states such as Nasarawa, Kwara, Oyo, Abuja, Kebbi and much more. Graphite is found in states such as Kaduna. One of the key objectives of the President Bola Tinubu’s administration according to Mr. Alake is to develop the entire value chain in-country – in the case of lithium.

“We want to go from Ore to concentrate to lithium hydroxide to end product,” the Minister emphasised. 

He also listed states with rare Earth Elements critical for wind turbines and EV motors as Nasarawa and Plateau. 

He further added that the nation was ready for foreign investment in the solid mineral sector, with President Bola Tinubu giving it a prominence. 

“It is clear that Nigeria is important to the world and we are ready for investment, collaboration and partnerships in our solid mineral sector. Our new president, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has made the solid mineral development sector vital in his admin

He listed the incentives available for potential investors as:up to 95% capital allowances of qualifying capital expenditure,up to 3-5 years tax holidays, possible capitalization of expenditure on exploration and surveys amongst others.

He said the country was interested in joint ventures with foreign major mining companies to explore the critical minerals.

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