Solar panels, EV battery to be manufactured in Nigeria

President Bola Tinubu has said his administration is set to make Nigeria the solar panel and Electric Vehicles battery manufacturing hub in Africa.

Tinubu also commended the inauguration of Nigeria’s largest Lithium processing plant in Lafia, Nasarawa State, adding that its an indication of the foreign investment friendly environment.

He stated this on Friday in Abuja during a meeting with Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, Mr Hi Yongwei, Chairman of Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited, and Mr Zhenhua Pei, Chairman, Canmax Technologies.

Avatar, a Chinese firm, built the lithium processing plant which produces about 4,000 metric tonnes daily, while Canmax Technologies is a renowned Chinese firm responsible for over 30 per cent of global battery material production.

Canmax, during the meeting, announced a new investment of 200 million dollars for another lithium processing plant in Nasarawa State.

Tinubu urged the Chinese firms to prioritise environmental protection, community engagement, and corporate social responsibility initiatives as integral parts of their operations.

‘’There are other aspects of lithium that you are exploring in the country, especially in battery production. Nigeria is a huge market for solar panels. Africa is a major consumer of solar technologies.

“I do not see why these panels and batteries cannot be produced here. The labour is cheaper. Our youths are vibrant and skilled. Our people are brilliant and adapt to new technology.

“The economy is increasingly more vibrant, and Nigeria is dependable. We have the consumption capacity and a surplus of steady-handed citizens with gifted minds and an innate drive to work and produce.

The president called on the firms not to abandon the communities in ruins as they explore the country’s high-grade minerals.

He told the Chinese investors that the administration would assist them to succeed in order to expand further, adding that with collaboration they could dominate solar panel market in Africa and the West African sub-region.

‘’You can always promote the interest of China and Nigeria as the best place in Africa to do business. We are preparing to produce in this country the solar technologies that the entire continent will use,’’ the President said.

Tinubu also applauded Gov. Sule and the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr Dele Alake, for their dedication to ensuring environmental protection and value addition by mining firms operating in the country.

In his remarks, Sule thanked the President for his unflinching support for solid mineral development in the country and for sending Senate President Godswill Akpabio to represent him at the inauguration.

‘’The company that we just commissioned today in Nasarawa is a 500-million-dollar turnover company. They are happy, and they have seen enough potential to mine lithium in the region for the next 15 to 20 years,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Alake said the ministry took proactive measures to address the risks posed by abandoned mines across the country, left behind by colonialists in the 1950s and 1960s.

‘’We are in the process of putting in place remedial measures, converting some of them into constructive uses, like farming and irrigation.

‘’To ensure that companies operating in this sector no longer abandon the mines after they have finished operations, it is part of our requirements for licensing fresh applicants.

“There must be concrete remediation plans that are viable and working before any application is approved for mining,’’ he said.

The Minister also said applicants seeking mining licences must demonstrate a commitment to enhancing local value across the entire mining value chain.

Alake said that this would align with the government’s Renewed Hope Agenda, to promote indigenous participation and economic empowerment.

In separate remarks, the Chinese executives described their investments in Nigeria as worthwhile and pledged to adhere to mining regulations while fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities to host communities.

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Written by Nike

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