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.
Although the industrial exploration of lithium could earn Nigeria much needed revenue and foreign exchange, critics ask: What guarantees are in place to prevent a repeat of the long history of pollution induced by extraction of raw materials?
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