Tesla wants to mine Lithium in Nigeria: What are the hidden costs?

By Temitayo Lawal
Posted on Wednesday, 14 September 2022 10:57

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk walks next to a screen showing an image of Tesla Model 3 car during an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai
Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk walks next to a screen showing an image of Tesla Model 3 car during an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/

Tesla has been told it needs to double down on value addition before Nigeria will allow lithium mining. Nigeria's minister of mines is now on a mission to Australia to find lithium miners who better align with Nigerian industrial policy.

In August, Nigeria’s minister of mines and steel development, Olamilekan Adegbite, said the country had rejected Tesla Inc’s request to mine lithium, unless the company were to situate a battery-making factory in the West African nation.

He said this is to retain value along the global processing chain of lithium.

Lithium is expected to triple in demand by 2040, according to the World Bank. The price of a tonne of lithium jumped from about $6,000 in 2020 to over $78,000 in 2022.

Lithium has so far been discovered in the northern states of Kogi, Nasarawa, Kwara and Plateau, as well as Oyo, Ekiti and Cross River in the south.