Nigeria’s lead export up by 79% in 2015 showing sector potential
The latest independent audit report of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) released November 19 indicated that lead and zinc contributed 79 percent of the $9.733 million Nigeria earned from the solid minerals sector in 2015.
This means that Nigeria earned N2.7billion from export of lead and zinc by major recycling firms in the country however, management of lead acid batteries from which lead for export is generated is still largely unregulated
Findings from a research conducted by Recycling and Economic Initiative Development of Nigeria (REDIN) supported by the Heinrich Boell Foundation Nigeria in 2016, showed that every year, an estimated 110,300 tons of used lead acid batteries are generated in Nigeria from the transport sector with each ton sold at N340,000. This translates to a market value of N37.5billon annually.
The cost of transportation of each ton is put at N11,000 and at the rate of 110,300 tones, the estimated cost is put at N1.2billion.
However in recent times, addition of batteries from solar operators raised volume of imported batteries into Nigeria to over 250,000 tonnes annually. This puts the total value of the ULABs at over N85billion. A ton of lead in the international market is about $2,500.
Experts say this clearly presents an opportunity for government to regulate the sector to maximize benefits from used lead acid batteries and protect the health of the citizens.
“Used lead acid batteries are considered the second most toxic waste after nuclear waste and government is not benefiting much from the way the sector is currently constituted,” said Terseer Ugbor, managing director/CEO of REDING Recycling Industries.
The value chain of the sector comprises battery collection, transportation, recycling, exports and manufacturing and much of the activities is largely informal.
NEITI report also indicated that the value of solid minerals exports in 2015 stood at $9.733 million, which was 1.45% of non-oil exports for the year.
The audit report disclosed that the total production of solid minerals in the country stood at 39.27 million tons. This represents a reduction of 17% from the 47.1 million tons produced in 2014. The drop in 2015’s production was attributed to insecurity in parts of the country and more stringent approval process for explosives used in mining.
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