Nigerian government received offer from Elon Musk’s vehicle manufacturing company, Tesla, to import raw materials from the country, amid plans of his network provider, Starlink, setting up operation.
According to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, a representative of Tesla had approached him at an event in Saudi Arabia to discuss lithium trade with the Nigerian government.
Lithium is a component of Tesla’s electric car battery, and global demand for the raw material, according to the World Bank is projected to triple by 2040, rising 10 to 30 times.
And half of lithium global demand is expected to come from electric car manufacturers and battery producers over the next two decades. This put Nigeria on the map for lithium trade.
However, the Nigerian government rejected the offer to import lithium from Nigeria, and instead, suggested that Musk should establish Tesla battery factory within the country.
This is expected to create jobs in Nigeria, and also improve efficiency of Nigerians in the electric vehicle market. But the minister of mines didn’t state if discussion are still ongoing or have fallen through.
Explaining the position of Nigeria in the lithium market, Adegbite said, “Nigeria is richly endowed with critical minerals. Lithium and tantalum are found in parts of the extensive pegmatite belts of Nigeria.”
He further stated that, “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.”
Meanwhile, Musk’s telecommunications company, Starlink, is planning to commence operation in Nigeria in the second half of 2022, in a bid to generate revenue from the Nigerian market.
Starlink has received license to operate as an internet service provider, and will be competing with the likes of MTN Nigeria, Glo, Airtel, 9mobile, Spectranet, amongst others.