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UK to Partner Nigeria on lithium Value Chain

British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has said his country’s National Economic Security Council is interested in partnership with Nigeria on energy minerals, such as lithium.


Dowden spoke at the unveiling of a comprehensive investment package, comprising the lithium value chain, between him and Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake, in London.


A statement in Abuja by Alake’s media aide, Kehinde Bamigbetan, said a comprehensive investment package, comprising the lithium value chain, topped talks between British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake, in London, late evening on Wednesday.

Hosting the meeting, Dowden said he chaired the British National Economic Security Council, which was interested in partnership with Nigeria on energy minerals such as lithium.


The British Deputy Prime Minister said the meeting was to kick off discussion between both countries and that officials of the Department of Trade and investors would sit down to work out the details of the partnership.


He urged Alake to convey his pleasure to welcome President Bola Tinubu to the African Summit scheduled to take place next year.


In his initial remarks, Alake said Nigeria has large deposits of minerals and ready to partner investors from the United Kingdom, adding that President Tinubu, as the Chief Marketer of Nigeria’s investment drive, would consider the invitation positively.


The minister announced that President Tinubu’s administration had introduced value addition as a priority policy in the sector.


“Our new policy places emphasis on local value addition rather than export of raw minerals so that the value of our mineral products can increase,” he said.


Noting that Nigeria and Britain have a long history, Alake told Dowden: “If Nigeria is not doing well, Britain should be concerned. And if Nigeria is doing well, Britain can benefit from the opportunities.”


The minister said the Nigerian team would be willing to sit down with their British counterparts to take the discussion to the next level.


Dowden hailed the Federal Government of Nigeria for its policy on value addition.


The British Deputy Prime Minister noted that going up the value chain would create more economic opportunities for the partnership between both countries.


He highlighted the importance of the relations between both countries, stressing that if the relations were bad, Britain would not be bothered with the supplies.


“You are right on value addition. If the processing then happens within a Third World Country we are comfortable with, that would be good,” Dowden said.


Founder and partner of Carousel Bio-Energy and promoter of the project, Jafar Hilali, briefed the meeting on his firm’s plans to intervene at every stage of the lithium value chain, leading to the establishment of a lithium battery production factory.


Hilali promised to assemble a consortium of British companies in power supply, infrastructure, and lithium battery production with a projection to produce lithium battery-powered energy buses for Nigeria’s domestic market.

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