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Minister calls for development of mineral value chains

Olamilekan Adegbite

 

By Olasunkanmi Onifade

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has called on Nigeria to compete with its contemporaries in developing the critical minerals value chain in the mining industry.

Adegbite said this at a summit organised by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and sponsored by SoundCore Group in Abuja on Thursday, with the theme: “Leveraging future minerals for sustainable development’.

He said the country could not afford to be left out of the global rush to develop its vast deposits of mineral resources.

He added that the administration had taken fundamental steps to salvage the low electricity generation by diversifying the country’s energy mix towards renewable alternatives,” he said.

Adegbite said that many nations were aggressively initiating policies and strategic models to ensure the accelerated development of the critical energy minerals.

He said that the U.S. Senate in July passed an act with incentives for developing critical minerals, adding that Australia was also considering investment packages to stimulate exploration.

This, he said, also included mining and processing of these minerals, adding that China also stepped up imports from developing nations to bolster critical minerals stockpiles.

According to him, the growing demand for critical minerals is propelled by the urgent need to secure a low-carbon future.

“Countries are increasingly relying on rare earth elements and critical minerals to support their climate commitments,” he said.

Adegbite said the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change emphasised the need to decline the use of non-renewable components in energy generation.

He said renewable sources of energy provided an alternative to the energy transition economy.

” The consequence of this major shift is a high demand for critical minerals for use in climate-friendly technologies.

” The World Bank has estimated the demand for these minerals to triple by 2040.

” Undoubtedly, the deployment of critical minerals for a clean energy transition will remain significantly intensive for a long time,” Adegbite said.

He said electric vehicles and battery storage would account for about half of the energy minerals demand over the next two decades, spurred by the increasing demand for battery materials.

Adegbite said battery storage minerals primarily comprised copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel, platinum group minerals, and to a lesser extent, aluminum, chromium, graphite, manganese, rare earth elements and Zinc.

He said mineral demand from electric vehicles and battery storage was predicted to grow 10 to 30 times by 2040.

“Nigeria is richly endowed with critical minerals. Lithium and tantalite are found in parts of the extensive pegmatite belts of Nigeria,” he said.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mine, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Sen. Tanko Almakura, said the future of Nigerian extractive industry was predicted to be heavily skewed towards solid mineral.

Mr Tony Nwakalor, the Chief Executive Officer(CEO), SoundCore Group, said the mining sector remained a veritable avenue for the country to wean itself off crude oil.

He said the sector also provides a reliable source of employment for teeming unemployed youth who could develop their skills formally and informally.

Nwakalor said the summit would serve as a trigger to initiate the mineral and mining revolution in the country.(NAN)

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Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede

 

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