Nigeria is ready to play an important role in meeting the global demand for critical minerals, according to the minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake.
Alake, who spoke at a special session on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, said the nation’s mineral resources make it one of the top 10 players in the energy sector.
The minister spoke on the topic: “From critical minerals to energy transition: Africa in the driver’s seat” at the event organised by the Corporate Council of Africa.
Alake said despite being behind other African countries in mining, Nigeria’s mineral deposit is valued at over $700 billion with very huge potential to increase, a statement by the ministry’s deputy director (Information), Alaba Balogun, has shown.
Speaking broadly of the continent, Alake said Africa is fit for the driver’s seat of the global energy transition that will be driven by critical minerals.
He said, “Nigeria has always occupied a special position in global energy discourse. Nigeria played a vital role as a key oil exporter during the era of hydrocarbons and became a top 10 exporter of oil. As the face of global energy changes, Nigeria once again emerges as a key supplier of gas which we know is an important energy transition fuel today. Last year in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Nigeria was one of the top exporters of LNG to Europe and was the sixth largest LNG global exporter in 2022. As you can see, there is a clear trend, whenever Nigeria is active in the global energy space, it emerges a top 10 global player and it will be no different with critical minerals.”
Noting that Nigeria is endowed with a vast deposit of minerals critical to the new world which requires a new form of energy driven by minerals in the new electric vehicle world, he also stated that technology is more mineral-dependent; that energy source will depend more on the energy converted from the sun and other sources, and that energy storage is even more mineral reliant.
He also traced the transition from different sources of energy to the now prominent renewable sources of energy.
“The shift from fossil-based energy systems to renewable energy such as wind and solar has meant that minerals that were not a part of general and public parlance have become a part of everyday speech. Today, lithium for example is woven through everyday conversations and this only just the beginning.
“Without a doubt, minerals are a major focus of our world today and rightly so. Nigeria is well positioned to play an important role in our new world. Our Solid mineral sector is valued at over $700 billion and we know there is more to be discovered. Endowed with critical minerals, Nigeria should not and, dare I say, cannot be ignored.
“We may not have a strong historic mining history like some of our neighbours such as Ghana, Mali and those in the South such as South Africa, Botswana, etc. but things are about to change,” he added.
According to him, Lithium-hosted pegmatite rocks are available in Nigeria across states such as Nasarawa, Kwara, Oyo, Abuja, and Kebbi