South Korea eyes one of Nigeria’s precious minerals

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The lithium reserve in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, has piqued the interest of South Korea.

The Deputy Director (Information) of Nigeria’s Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Alaba Balogun revealed that the Nigerian government was in talks with their South Korean counterparts at the Seventh Korea-Africa Economic Co-operation Conference in Busan, South Korea.

Based on a report seen in the Punch NG, a Nigerian newspaper, the deputy director’s statement showed that the discussions centered around the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding between both countries on investments in Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.

According to the same statement, the Nigerian team present at the conference consisted of officials of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and Oando Mining Company, while the Korean Institute of Geosciences and Mineral Resources and Korean Mines Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation constituted the South Korean team.

Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, Director-General of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, represented Dr Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals.

The proposed amendment to the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding includes “training of Nigerian mining professionals in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Ore Modelling, Mineral Processing, research, and exploration of critical minerals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite.”

“KIGAM president, Dr. Pyeong Koo-lee, offered to collaborate with Nigeria to explore the large deposits of lithium-bearing pegmatites,” the statement reads in part.

“He said KIGAM has the best technology in lithium ore processing, adding that the beneficiation process can reduce the carbon to improve the grade of the ore.

Vice President of the state-owned KOMIR, Dr Alex Kwon, expressed interest in overseas mining investment, adding that KOMIR provides technical and financial assistance and investment in the exploration and mining of solid minerals,” the statement adds.

An earlier report by the Punch NG showed that the Nigerian government has constantly expressed interest in exploring its lithium reserves, to their fullest extent, seeing the potential the precious mineral has in boosting the country’s overall revenue.

Last year, the Director-General, of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba, divulged to journalists that high-grade lithium discovered in Nigeria has become an item of interest to foreign investors.