Landmark Lithium Mining Company, a Chinese company specializing in the exploration of lithium, is building a lithium plant in Nasarawa state that would produce about 3,000 tons of lithium per day, at an estimated cost of $100 million.
The company has located its lithium plant in Nasarawa, the headquarters of Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Abdullahi Sule, who visited on Friday to gain access to the progress of work at the factory site, expressed his satisfaction with the level of work done so far.
The governor was therefore confident that the lithium factory will certainly give an impulse to the industrialization drive of his government.
He disclosed that since Nasarawa state is said to have the highest reserves of lithium in the North Central, an expensive mineral in high demand on the world market, his government will do everything possible to encourage the Chinese company to import lithium into to dig the place. .
“I am very satisfied in the sense that this is what we are talking about when we talk about industrialization in Nasarawa State. We’ve been talking about it for a long time, just like about oil. We mentioned that we have lithium in Nasarawa state.
“Lithium is one of the most attractive and expensive minerals traded on the global market today. In fact, today it has become more than ten times more expensive.
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“Lithium is what people use to make batteries, either solar batteries or even the battery you have in your car. Over time, Nasarawa state has been reported to be one of the states with the highest amount of lithium in the north-central part of Nigeria.
“There is also lithium in Kwara, Niger and Kogi, but Nasarawa state has been so lucky to have the largest commercial amount,” he said.
He added that the company’s investment was a dream come true for his government’s industrialization drive and because he had encouraged the Chinese company to not only mine lithium, but also build a factory and add value chain by producing finished products at the factory instead of getting the raw lithium from the state.
“Today we are very lucky in the push for industrialization in the state. We have encouraged this company to start mining both lithium and the finished products here instead of getting the raw lithium from Nasarawa state.
“Today you can see the dream come true. They are investing over $100 million on this site and building a brand new factory capable of processing 3,000 tons of lithium per day.
“3000 metric tones a day gives you more than a million tones a year. Because in terms of production, we multiply the 3000 times roughly like 28 days times 12 months. That’s about what I did, depending on whether it’s a 24 hour or 16 or 12 hour day shift.
“That’s what I wanted to see for myself. I’ve seen it and I’m happy with what’s happening. And they only have about 50 Chinese and about 500 local Nigerians working here. That is ten times the number of Chinese who work here,” said Sule.
The governor continues that the Chinese company has prepared adequate plans to take care of the environment and protect the mining area from degradation.
“I am also pleased with the discussion about land reclamation, because after the extraction of this lithium from the ground, a lot of wells will be created. So, how can we reclaim these sinks so they don’t harm the environment?
“From what you can see, we are just sitting at the site of the dam where the wastewater and waste product are dumped. So I’m interested in seeing that site, that’s why I came to the site to protect the environment,” he added.
Sule noted that Nigerians are unable to engage in commercial mining activities mainly due to the lack of knowledge about commercial mining.
“The reason why Nigerians haven’t been able to do it is because we don’t have the knowledge, and in most cases those who have the money don’t have the knowledge.
“That’s why you still see some people doing the mining in a very crude way, who don’t have the resources to invest in it.
“We went to one of the sites with you. One of the pits is currently 60 meters deep and they will be 200 meters deep. You need heavy equipment for that. You need the knowledge,” he said.
However, the governor expressed hope that as the Chinese mining company recruits from the state, citizens of Nasarawa state will gradually acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for commercial mining.
“They do that with Nigerians, with people from the state of Nasarawa. So people from Nasarawa state will now learn the technology from them. In the end, maybe they don’t need 50 men here.
“By the time the factory grows to about thousands of people, they may not need 10 percent foreigners to work here. They can be any Nigerians, mostly people from Nasarawa State, who will work here,” he said.
He further stated that apart from the knowledge to be influenced, both the communities and the state will benefit economically from the venture.