The Nigerian government is seeking closer ties with South Korea around developing the country’s lithium deposits, officials announced Thursday.
During the 7th Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation Conference in Busan, the two countries discussed revising a 2006 memorandum of understanding on mining investments. The goal is to tap into Nigeria’s sizable lithium reserves.
Lithium is a critical mineral used heavily in batteries for electric vehicles and consumer electronics. Global demand for lithium is surging.
“Proposed revisions to the 2006 MoU include training Nigerian mining professionals in areas like geochemistry, mineral processing and lithium exploration,” said a statement from Nigeria’s Ministry of Solid Minerals Development.
The Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) aims to collaborate on surveying Nigeria’s “large deposits of lithium-bearing pegmatites,” the statement revealed.
“KIGAM has the best lithium ore processing technology. Our beneficiation process can reduce the carbon to improve the ore grade,” said KIGAM President Dr. Pyeong Koo-lee.
The state-owned Korea Mine Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation (KOMIR) also expressed interest in mining investments and partnerships in Nigeria.
Nigeria has actively courted foreign investors for its untapped lithium reserves. The government aims to become a global lithium supplier amid surging demand.