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Tinubu To Lithium Investors: Don’t Leave Host Communities In Ruins

Nigeria’s President Tinubu has charged Chinese lithium investors in Nasarawa to prioritise environmental protection and community engagement.

President Bola Tinubu, on Friday, inaugurated a Lithium processing factory built in Nasarawa State by a Chinese firm, Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited. The occasion took place at Kama Otto in Nasarawa Local Government Area.

Tinubu, also charged the lithium investors to prioritise environmental protection and community engagement, warning them not to leave the host communities in ruins in their exploration activities.

Receiving a delegation from Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited and Canmax Technologies, led by Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, the President commended the inauguration of Nigeria’s largest lithium processing plant in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

It was in collaboration with the Nasarawa State Government. The President was represented at the occasion by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio.

A statement by the Senate President Media Office explained that the Nasarawa State Governor, Mr. Abdullahi Sule, and his Kogi State counterpart, Governor Usman Ododo, attended the event.

The statement added that the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake,  some federal lawmakers, former leaders of the state and traditional rulers, attended the event.

 Tinubu, whose speech was read by Akpabio, said the inauguration of the Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited was an example of a good partnership between the federal government, state and investors. The President said the establishment of the Lithium company would not only create opportunities for the youth but would also position Nigeria as a key player in the global Lithium market.

 This, he said, was in line with the government’s Renewed Hope Agenda of diversifying the nation’s economy by leveraging on the mining sector in order to expand the country’s sources of revenue for socio-economic development.

 “Realising the benefits of Lithium and other mineral resources, our administration will continue to pay particular attention to the maximum utilisation of the product for the benefit of our people.

“While we appreciate this investment in the first phase, processing of Lithium, our goal is for investors to establish factories for the complete value chain processing of Lithium and all other minerals,” the President said.

Tinubu called on all Nigerians to support the policies of his government and urged local and international companies to patronise Avatar Company for the growth and prosperity of Nigeria.

 The President also acknowledged the support of the people of Nasarawa during the last Presidential election.

He said, “Today, we are here to thank you, not just in words. We are thanking you with a massive project, the commissioning of the state-of-the art Lithium processing factory, the first in this state and one of the best in Africa.

“What does this mean to our people? Lithium is a critical component in the production of batteries for electric commodities.

“Our people have been using phones, vehicles and other appliances powered by Lithium batteries as consumers.

“For the first time in the history of our technology, we are becoming partners and partakers in the production value chain of these minerals. 

“It is historic leap because we now have opportunities to know how it is done, to own and home the skills.”

Earlier, the Nasarawa State Governor, Sule, said that they would not have been able to open the state for such investment without the support of President Tinubu and without the support of the local communities.

The governor also appreciated the security agencies because, according to him, the site of the factory used to be a “no go area” on account of banditry activities but the area is now well secured.

In his remarks, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Alake, said what Avatar New Energy Materials Company did, with the inauguration of the factory, was to show that it is not only possible but also profitable.

Meanwhile, receiving the delegation led by Sule, at Abuja, the President commended the inauguration of Nigeria’s largest lithium processing plant in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

 Sule was accompanied on the visit to the President by Mr. Hi Yongwei, Chairman of Avatar New Energy Materials Company Limited, and Mr. Zhenhua Pei, Chairman, Canmax Technologies.

Tinubu stressed the need for responsible mining practices, saying, “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.”

The President urged the companies to prioritise environmental protection, community engagement, and corporate social responsibility initiatives, ensuring that their operations benefit the local population and minimise ecological damage. 

Deji Elumoye and Sunday Aborisade

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