The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has revealed that it would collaborate with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) to pursue a national policy that will put an end to the export of strategic solid minerals overseas.
NASENI’s partnership with the NGSA aims to identify, analyse and profile various strategic minerals to encourage local production of end products within Nigeria.
The executive vice chairman of NASENI, Dr. Bashir Gwandu shared this plan during a visit from the director-general of NGSA, Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba to the NASENI headquarters in Abuja. Both agencies are exploring opportunities for collaboration to domesticate the production of end products derived from the country’s abundant mineral resources. Their aim is to create job opportunities, boost the economy and reduce capital flights by attracting potential investors to establish processing plants in Nigeria for local production.
Gwandu emphasised the importance of processing Nigeria’s solid minerals through a policy that curtails the exportation of certain raw materials. He believes that encouraging international manufacturers to set up their plants within the country will lead to significant economic benefits. For instance, he pointed out that Nigeria possesses large quantities of lithium, titanium, low-grade cobalt, nickel, tungsten ore, copper, phosphate, and kaolin.
Gwandu expressed concern over undocumented or artisanal miners exporting thousands of tonnes of lithium every week without realising the potential value of other associated minerals like rubidium and caesium found within lithium. He aims to change this situation and invited foreign companies, including Chinese investors, to explore opportunities for manufacturing lithium batteries locally in Nigeria, particularly for electric vehicles.
“We cannot continue to be exporting raw materials and import finished goods only. We can use our resources in areas of technology to process the materials. It will be good if we put a policy that will limit the export of raw materials so that companies will come and partner with us and produce locally,” Gwandu stated.
The NASENI executive highlighted the need for a strategic partnership between the two agencies to identify the compositions of raw materials within the country and ensure the local production of end-products that add value to the economy. NASENI is eager to collaborate with NGSA on strategic solid minerals and other products with a direct positive impact on Nigeria’s GDP while minimising forex spending.
In response, Garba expressed excitement about the potential collaboration. He emphasised the importance of Nigerian agencies working together to harness and process the country’s raw materials, which will not only boost the economy but also create job opportunities and wealth.
The two agencies have agreed to pursue a national policy to ban the exportation of strategic minerals at the highest levels of government. They believe that such a policy will foster technological development and domestication of the use of industrial minerals within Nigeria, ultimately leading to significant economic growth and prosperity.