South Korea has indeed expressed interest in mining lithium in Nigeria. Lithium is a key component in electric vehicle batteries, and South Korea is a major producer of electric vehicles. Nigeria is estimated to have some of the largest lithium reserves in the world, and South Korean companies are eager to get a piece of the action.
The Deputy Director of Nigeria’s Ministry of Solid Minerals Developments, Alaba Balogun revealed that the Nigerian government was in talks with their Korean counterparts at the Seventh Korea-Africa Economic Co-operation Conference in Busan, South Korea.
In 2022, a delegation from South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy visited Nigeria to discuss potential lithium mining projects. The delegation met with Nigerian government officials and mining companies to explore ways to collaborate on lithium development.
Several South Korean companies have already invested in lithium mining projects in Nigeria. For example, the Korean company LG Chem has partnered with the Nigerian company Dangote Group to develop a lithium mine in Kaduna State.
The interest of South Korea in lithium mining in Nigeria has been met with mixed reactions. Some Nigerians are concerned that South Korean companies will exploit Nigeria's resources without giving back to the country. Others are hopeful that South Korean investment will create jobs and boost the Nigerian economy.
South Korea remains one of the leading investors in lithium mining in Africa. South Korean companies are interested in securing access to lithium resources to support their growing electric vehicle and battery industries.
In 2022, South Korean steelmaker POSCO announced a $4 billion investment in a lithium mine in Argentina. This is one of the largest investments in lithium mining in Africa to date.
In 2021, South Korean battery maker LG Chem signed a deal to develop a lithium mine in Kaduna State, Nigeria, in partnership with Nigerian conglomerate Dangote Group. And in 2020, South Korean automaker SK On signed a deal to develop a lithium mine in Mali with Australian mining company Firefinch.
In addition to these specific investments, South Korean companies are also involved in a number of other lithium mining projects in Africa, including in Ghana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
South Korean investment in lithium mining in Africa is having a number of positive impacts. It is creating jobs, boosting local economies, and helping to develop new infrastructure. However, there are also some concerns about the potential negative impacts of lithium mining, such as environmental damage and social unrest.
It is important to note that South Korea is not the only country investing in lithium mining in Africa. China is also a major player, and other countries, such as Australia and Canada, are also involved. This competition for lithium resources is driving up prices and making it more difficult for African countries to negotiate fair deals.
Overall, South Korean investment in lithium mining in Africa is a positive development. However, it is important to be aware of the potential negative impacts and to ensure that lithium mining is carried out in a sustainable and responsible manner.
It is also important to weigh the potential benefits and risks carefully before making any decisions about lithium mining in Nigeria. The Nigerian government should ensure that any lithium mining projects are carried out in a sustainable and responsible manner.