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Tinubu Sees Nigeria As Hub Of Solar Power Technology In Africa As First Lithium Processing Plant Debuts In Nasarawa

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has praised the setting up of Nigeria’s largest lithium processing plant in Lafia, Nasarawa State, saying it is proof that Nigeria is now open and ready for investments and business.

He was speaking during a courtesy call on him Friday May 10, at Aso Villa, by heads of two Chinese giants in the lithium mining and processing business, accompanied by Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule.

Mr. Hi Yongwei, Chairman of Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited, and Mr. Zhenhua Pei, Chairman of Canmax Technologies are in Nigeria for the commissioning of Avatar’s 4,000 metric tonnes of lithium processing plant earlier on Friday. 

Also Canmax Technologies – the Chinese giant accounting for over 30% of global battery material production, disclosed plans for a further investment worth $200 million to setup a similar lithium plant in the state as well.

Lithium, known as the “white gold” is a mineral which after processing is a key component of high-capacity batteries such as lithium electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Lithium batteries is believed will be the primary captive power source of the future from electric cars to our smartphones. Lithium is already becoming the most valuable commodity on the planet.

Expressing his delight at the new investment in the country, President Tinubu charged the Chinese firms however to be mindful of the operating environment and prioritize environmental preservation, community engagement, and corporate social responsibility as integral aspects of their operations.

You must not leave the community in ruins as you explore for our high-grade minerals. You must be concerned with cooperation and always care for the community”.

Tinubu Pitches For More Investment

The plants will process lithium primarily for export, but the president wants the lithium batteries to be produced in Nigeria.

”We are caring partners. We want your investments to succeed so that you can expand further. You can, in mutually-beneficial collaboration with us, dominate the solar panel market as part of a revolution in Africa and the West African sub-region“, the president said.

Can you recognize lithium if you see it?

There are other aspects of lithium that you are exploring in the country, especially in battery production. Nigeria is a huge market for solar panels. Africa is a major consumer of solar technologies. I do not see why these panels and batteries cannot be produced here. The labour is cheaper. Our youths are vibrant and skilled. Our people are brilliant and adapt to new technology. The economy is increasingly more vibrant, and Nigeria is dependable. We have the consumption capacity and a surplus of steady-handed citizens with gifted minds and an innate drive to work and produce.

You can always promote the interest of China and Nigeria as the best place in Africa to do business. We are preparing to produce in this country the solar technologies that the entire continent will use,” the President said. 

You can advocate for the interests of both China and Nigeria, positioning us as the premier destination for business in Africa. We are gearing up to manufacture solar technologies that will be utilized across the continent,” the President remarked.

Tinubu promised the manufacturing executives government cooperation and willingness to assist wherever necessary.

Avatar’s estimated annual turnover is about $500 million, or bout N700 billion, which will make it one of Nigeria’s biggest companies by turnover.

Gov. Sule explained that lithium reserves in Nasarawa state will sustain the mining operation for up to 20 years.

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Iheanacho Achugbu
Iheanacho Achugbuhttps://joliba.com.ng
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