The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has called for a national policy that will stop the export of Nigeria solid minerals overseas thereby pursuing domestication of processing of both raw materials and local manufacturing of the end-products from such minerals and raw materials.
This move was revealed by the executive vice chairman/chief executive officer of NASENI, Dr. Bashir Gwandu when he received the director general of Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr. Abdulrazaq A. Garba who was on a working visit to NASENI headquarters on Monday July 31, 2023 in Abuja.
According to a statement issued on Monday by the director in charge of information and protocol, Olusegun Ayeoyenikan, the two Agencies agreed to seek areas of possible collaborations on how to domesticate processing or value addition to abundant mineral resources in the country, converting them into products that will create jobs, add value to the economy and thereby ending capital flights through the encouragement of potential investors to set up manufacturing plants in Nigeria for local production.
Speaking at the meeting, the executive vice chairman/chief executive officer of NASENI said Nigeria has so many raw materials and must focus on domestication of her solid minerals through a policy that could stop the exportation of raw materials and encourage investors, especially by requesting that those foreign companies should establish their factories in Nigeria and also to produce locally.
Citing an example of Lithium which is in large quantities across the country, Dr. Gwandu said illegal miners are exporting thousands of tons of Lithium weekly without knowing the value of the mineral. He explained that since electric car batteries could be made from it, he has invited some foreign companies including Chinese investors to discuss ways of ensuring that Lithium batteries are manufactured locally in Nigeria.
“We have a lot of graphite in Nigeria and lithium graphite is cheaper. Battery production has seven stages. We have invited some Chinese companies. We want to start from an assembly plant while we are waiting for actual production of raw materials for the production of lithium batteries. We can develop capacities even before we can have the factory”, he stated.
According to him, “Nigeria has the raw materials in abundance and we are going to produce something that would have a direct impact on our economy. We cannot continue to export raw materials and import finished goods. We can use our resources in areas of technology. It will be good if we put a policy that will limit export of raw materials so that those foreign companies will come and partner with us and produce locally.”
The NASENI boss pointed out that the Agency wanted to partner with agencies that will work on the compositions of the raw materials in the country and make sure the raw materials were locally produced into end products that will add value to the economy, adding that NASENI was ready to work with NGSA on solid minerals that could benefit Nigeria.
In his response, the director-general of NGSA, Dr. Abdulrazaq A. Garba, who said NGSA was first established in 1919, explained that he was excited that NASENI established an Institute in Nasarawa state for solid materials research, promising that he would work with NASENI on creation of more laboratories for scientific research.
He said “there is need for Nigerian Agencies to work together in ensuring that the raw materials scattered all over the country are harmonised and their processing domesticated as it will not only add value to the nation’s economy but create jobs and wealth as well”
Explaining further “If we can have a synergy, we can take things beyond this level and we can begin to domesticate the processing of the raw materials. We have the composition and details of the location of so many of them. What we need is to work together to domesticate the processing and manufacturing of industrial minerals. So, we are here to seek collaboration on technological development and domestication of the processing of our industrial minerals”, he stated.
The highpoint of the event was the formal handing over to NASENI, by the director general of NGSA, the country’s Geological map, showing numerous minerals deposits, rocks and various raw materials endowments possessed by Nigeria. The two Agencies agreed to take the issue of national policy to ban exportation of minerals in the country to the highest levels of government.