Tinubu to Chinese companies: Don’t leave communities in ruins as you explore minerals



President Bola Tinubu has commended the inauguration of the lithium processing plant in Lafia, Nasarawa state.

 

In a statement on Friday, Ajuri Ngelale, the presidential spokesperson, said Avatar, a Chinese firm, built the lithium processing plant which produces about 4,000 metric tonnes daily.

 

Also, Canmax Technologies, a renowned Chinese firm responsible for over 30 percent of global battery material production, announced a new investment of $200 million for another lithium processing plant in Nasarawa.

 

Ngelale said Tinubu met with Abdullahi Sule, governor of Nasarawa; and Hi Yongwei, chairman of Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited; as well as Zhenhua Pei, Chairman, Canmax Technologies.

 

During the meeting, the president said the location of the lithium plant is a clear indication of the country’s attractiveness for foreign investments.

 

He urged the firm to prioritise environmental protection, community engagement, and corporate social responsibility in their operations.

 

He warned that as the Chinese companies explore high-grade minerals in the country, they should not leave communities in ruins.

 

He encouraged them to also rely on the manpower of Nigerian youths who are “vibrant and skilled”.

 

”There are other aspects of lithium that you are exploring in the country, especially in battery production,” Tinubu said.

 

“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.

 

”You must not leave the community in ruins as you explore for our high-grade minerals. You must be concerned with cooperation and always care for the community.

 

”We are caring partners. We want your investments to succeed so that you can expand further. Whenever you call on us, we will help you.

 

“You can, in mutually-beneficial collaboration with us, dominate the solar panel market as part of a revolution 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.”

 

He further applauded Sule and Dele Alake, minister of solid minerals, for their dedication towards solid minerals development in the country, adding that Nigeria will give operating firms the necessary support.

 

Sule thanked the president for his support, saying that ”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”.

 

Alake said the ministry has embarked on proactive measures to address the risks posed by abandoned mines across the country, especially those 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,” Alake said.

 

”To ensure that companies operating in this sector no longer abandon the mines after they have finished operations, it is part of our requirements that for licencing fresh applicants, there must be concrete remediation plans that are viable and working before any application is approved for mining.”

The Chinese executives, in their remarks, pledged to adhere to mining regulations, while fulfilling their corporate social responsibilities to host communities.      

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