Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite has revealed that he declined Tesla’s offer to get raw materials from Nigeria.
Adegbite revealed that the electric car company offered to get lithium from Nigeria, which is one of the components of an electric car battery.
Speaking at a summit titled, “Leveraging Future Minerals for Sustainable Development”, Adegbite said a Tesla representative approached him at a summit in Saudi Arabia and showed interest in getting Lithium from Nigeria but he rejected the bid and asked Tesla to set up battery industry in Nigeria.
Adegbite who revealed that mineral demand from electric vehicles and battery storage is predicted to grow 10 to 30 times by 2040, further stated that establishing the battery industry would improve the value chain of mineral exploration in Nigeria.
According to him, it is speculated that electric vehicles and battery storage would account for about half of the energy minerals demand over the next two decades, and this has spurred increasing demand for battery materials.
“Nigeria is richly endowed with critical minerals. Lithium and tantalum are found in parts of the extensive pegmatite belts of Nigeria.”
Also pointing out that future minerals are the metallic or non-metallic elements essential for the growth and functions of modern technologies, he noted that many nations are aggressively initiating policies and strategic models to ensure the accelerated development of the critical energy minerals.
Adegbite recalled that the U.S Senate had in July passed an act with incentives for developing critical minerals, adding that Australia is also considering investment packages to stimulate exploration.
The Minister also said China also stepped up imports from developing nations to bolster critical minerals stockpiles.
He also averred that the growing demand for critical minerals is propelled by the urgent need to secure a low-carbon future and “countries are increasingly relying on rare earth elements and critical minerals to support their climate commitments.”
Pointing out that the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change emphasised the need to decline the use of non-renewable components in energy generation, he added that renewable sources of energy provide 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.”