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Lithium Mining in Nigeria: Laws, Opportunities and Challenges


Lithium, a critical component in batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage, has gained significant attention globally. In Nigeria, recent discoveries of lithium deposits have sparked interest in tapping into this valuable resource. This article examines the current regulatory framework governing mining in Nigeria, explores the states where lithium is found, and evaluates the prospects and challenges associated with its sustainable extraction.

Legal Framework for Mining in Nigeria

Mining operations in Nigeria are governed primarily by the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007 (the “Mining Act”). This legislation provides for the exploration, exploitation, and management of mineral resources in Nigeria. The Mining Act outlines the rights of mining companies, procedures for obtaining mineral titles, and guidelines for environmental protection and community engagement.

Under the Mining Act, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) oversees the regulation of the mining sector and issues various licenses and permits necessary for mining activities. These include exploration licenses, mining leases, quarry leases, and small-scale mining leases, each with specific terms and conditions tailored to promote sustainable mining practices and ensure equitable benefits for stakeholders.

Lithium Deposits in Nigeria

1. Nasarawa State

Nasarawa State, located in central Nigeria, hosts significant lithium-bearing ores, primarily lepidolite and spodumene, found within pegmatite rocks in the Pan-African Basement Complex [1].

2. Kogi State

Kogi State, known for its rich mineral resources, includes lithium deposits where artisanal miners have historically extracted small quantities of lithium [2].

3. Kwara State

Kwara State contributes to Nigeria’s lithium potential, with current mining activities, albeit on a limited scale [3].

4. Ekiti State

Situated in southwestern Nigeria, Ekiti State is part of the lithium belt, where ongoing exploration efforts are underway to assess the extent of lithium resources [4].

5. Cross River State

Cross River State completes the list of Nigerian states involved in lithium mining, possessing geological formations with valuable lithium-bearing minerals [4].

Challenges and Prospects

While Nigeria’s lithium deposits hold promise, several challenges must be addressed to realize their full potential:

  • Environmental Impact: Responsible mining practices are essential to mitigate environmental degradation. Proper waste management and reclamation strategies are crucial to minimize ecological footprints.
  • Infrastructure: Developing necessary infrastructure, including processing plants and transportation networks, is critical for efficient lithium extraction and export.
  • Regulatory Framework: Clear and robust regulations and policies are necessary to govern lithium mining activities. These frameworks should ensure fair practices, prioritize safety standards, and promote equitable community benefits.


Nigeria’s emergence as a player in the global lithium market hinges on sustainable exploration, responsible mining practices, and value addition through local processing capabilities. By harnessing its lithium resources, Nigeria can potentially create jobs, enhance revenue streams, and contribute significantly to the global green energy transition. As the country navigates these opportunities and challenges, strategic investments in infrastructure, technology, and regulatory frameworks will be pivotal in unlocking the socio-economic benefits of its lithium reserves.

The potential for lithium mining in Nigeria presents an opportunity to diversify the country’s economy and contribute to global renewable energy goals. However, realizing this potential requires addressing regulatory challenges, investing in infrastructure, and promoting sustainable mining practices. The Nigerian government, through the MMSD, plays a crucial role in facilitating a conducive environment for responsible lithium exploration and exploitation while safeguarding environmental and community interests.

As global demand for lithium continues to rise, Nigeria stands at a pivotal juncture to harness its mineral wealth responsibly, contributing to sustainable development and economic prosperity.


  1. Geological Survey of Nigeria.
  2. Artisanal Mining Reports, Kogi State.
  3. Mining Activities in Kwara State, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Nigeria.
  4. Exploration Reports, Ekiti and Cross River States, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Nigeria.
  5. Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
  6. Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Nigeria.
  7. Geological Surveys of Nigeria.
  8. Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines, Nigeria

This article provides a comprehensive overview of Nigeria’s lithium mining prospects within the context of its legal framework, emphasizing the importance of sustainable practices and robust regulatory frameworks in maximizing the benefits of this valuable mineral resource

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