April 16, 2024

Chinese illegal miners invade Nigeria in search of Lithium – Nigerian Miners raises alarm


Oredola Adeola

The Miners Association of Nigeria has raised alarm over illegal mining of Lithium by Chinese nationals in Nigeria.

Mr. Dele Ayanleke, the National Secretary of the association  made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

EnergyDay’s check showed that the global push for energy transition, emissions control and rising prices of crude oil and Liquified Natural Gas(LPG) have significantly increased demand for battery-grade lithium carbonate across the world.

In 2021, total cash costs of lithium concentrate rose 17.4% year over year and of chemicals rose 7.8% year over year.

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, total cash costs of lithium concentrate operations increased 17.4% year over year to $2,529/t lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).

Total cash costs of lithium chemicals — lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide products — increased from $4,684/t LCE in 2020 to $5,048/t LCE in 2021.

Ayanleke disclosed that the Chinese nationals are invading mining sites across Nigeria in search of lithium minerals at an alarming rate.

He noted that lithium is one of the main materials for producing batteries used in powering electric cars and the whole world is clamouring to go Green leaving fossil fuel behind.

The Secretary of the Miners in Nigeria said, “Chinese are moving from one mining site to the other, scavenging and mopping our raw lithium mineral at a cheap rate to develop their industries and economy.

“This is not good for the future of our economy; what this means is that Nigeria will end up buying electric batteries from them.

“The Government should safeguard our lithium and revive all the moribund companies producing batteries in Nigeria to start using the lithium to produce electric batteries,” he said.

He also urged the FG to withdraw 100% ownership of minerals mined by foreign miners operating in Nigeria, stating that allowing the Chinese to have 100% mining assets is not good enough for the indigenous mining investors.

”Allowing the Chinese to enter into every mining site is one of the reasons kidnapping is on the increase in Nigeria because they are the major target for kidnappers,” Ayanleke added.

Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, Director General,Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, had recently revealed the discovery of high lithium grade in Nigeria, which according to him is one of the world’s most important solid minerals.

Garba said lithium is hot cake now, and luckily Nigeria has it in several parts of the country.

U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, in January 2022, had revealed that lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in Asia, Europe, and the United States.