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Nigeria and UK Forge New Paths in Mining Collaboration

Joint Technical Group to Unlock Nigeria's Mineral Wealth

by Oluwatosin Alabi

In a significant move to bolster Nigeria’s mining sector, the Federal Government and the United Kingdom have agreed to establish a joint technical working group aimed at developing the country’s critical mineral resources. This development came after discussions between UK Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden and Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, on the sidelines of the Mines and Money Conference in London. The focus of these talks was primarily on Nigeria’s lithium deposits, a resource that has garnered considerable interest from the UK due to its critical role in the global transition to green energy.

The agreement to form the technical committee was solidified during a recent visit by a delegation from the British High Commission to the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development in Nigeria. The delegation, led by Deputy High Commissioner Johnny Baxter, emphasized the UK’s readiness to advance collaboration and investment in Nigeria’s mining sector. This move is seen as a significant step towards tapping into Nigeria’s vast mineral wealth, which includes not only lithium but also other critical minerals essential for various industries globally.

Minister Alake, in his discussions with the British delegation, highlighted the Bola Tinubu administration’s efforts to improve the business environment within the mining sector. Key initiatives include the implementation of a new security architecture to protect natural resources and the establishment of a Nigerian Mining Corporation, which is expected to be led by the private sector. These efforts are part of a broader strategy to diversify Nigeria’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenues.

The British Deputy High Commissioner’s delegation, which included political counselor Tom Burge, Senior Political Adviser Wale Adebajo, and Simeon Umukoro, the Trade Market Access Lead from the UK Department for Business and Trade, praised Nigeria’s endeavors to make the mining sector more visible and attractive to international investors. The joint technical working group is expected to lay the groundwork for a partnership that will enhance investment and development in the mining sector, promising a new era of economic growth and sustainability for Nigeria.

This collaboration comes at a crucial time when the global demand for critical minerals, especially those used in batteries and renewable energy technologies, is soaring. Nigeria’s rich mineral deposits, if properly harnessed, have the potential to make a significant contribution to the global supply chain for these critical materials. The partnership with the UK could provide the necessary expertise, investment, and market access to realize this potential.

The formation of the joint technical working group signifies a proactive approach to developing Nigeria’s mining sector, offering hope for a future where the country’s mineral wealth contributes more significantly to its economic development. As the world moves towards more sustainable energy solutions, Nigeria’s role as a supplier of critical minerals could become increasingly important, bringing with it opportunities for economic diversification, job creation, and technological advancement.

As Nigeria and the UK finalize the details of their collaboration, the international community watches with interest. This partnership could serve as a model for how countries with rich natural resources can collaborate with developed nations to mutual benefit, ensuring that the exploitation of these resources is done sustainably and ethically, with a focus on long-term economic development and environmental stewardship.

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