Book of Abstracts

Akpan, L. Morgan (2023-11-29)


According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the average amount of minerals required for a new power generation unit has increased by more than 50% over the years due to the rise in the share of renewable energy sources in the global energy mix. From this singular indicator, it is evident that the demand for minerals needed to manufacture and sustain power generation systems to achieve the global agenda on energy transition will continue to rise. Given that the low-emission energy and transportation systems are more mineral-intensive than their fossil fuel counterparts, the energy transition window provides a great opportunity for the solid minerals subsector. Further, as the world population grows, the infrastructure needed to meet the demands for transportation, housing, clean water, sanitation, etc. will continue to increase the need for solid minerals. While lithium presently enjoys the fastest growth rate in terms of demand, it is projected that the global demand for mineral resources required to satisfy technological and industrial applications by 2040 will be dominated by graphite, copper, and nickel. Nigeria is endowed with significant mineral resources, but most remain untapped. In a report published by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2019, it was stated that the mining sector in Nigeria accounted for only 0.5% of the GDP and a paltry 0.3% of employment. These numbers are a far cry from what they should be, going by the enormous solid mineral resources that the country is endowed with. Recent records have it that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) in Nigeria has identified more than 40 unexploited solid minerals in commercial quantity across the country. It is estimated that Africa accounts for about 30% of all global mineral reserves. But due to the emphasis on the export of raw materials in the continent, the region is yet to derive full benefits from these natural endowments as evident in the low foreign exchange earnings from the subsector across the continent as well as lower employment levels in the sector compared to other resource-rich countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Indeed, solid minerals are gradually becoming a “resource curse”, with dire health and environmental consequences as seen in DR Congo and other countries in the region. Using Nigeria as a reference, among the issues impeding the sub-Saharan Africa region’s aspiration of using solid mineral resources to diversify its economy include a lack of indigenous capacity, inadequate policy and analytical systems, lack of equipment, infrastructural deficit, security threats, etc. Industrialized countries that have good governance and socioeconomic base to deliver goods and services to their citizens usually place a strong emphasis on tertiary education, research, technology diffusion, and the appropriate policy mix that encourages innovation. This is the route that African countries must take to turn around the socio-economic fortunes of the continent. ACMED 1ST COSMIRTEP 2023 provides a platform to articulate research results, policy options, and socioeconomic dynamics with which African countries can make informed decisions in the area of solid minerals and mining which is unanimously agreed to hold great potential for the continent in terms of job creation, income generation through foreign exchange, foreign direct investment, poverty reduction, among others. In line with one of our core mandates as a regional research-focused University which is to generate and disseminate knowledge and information which are critical for African renaissance and economic growth in the 21st century, this International conference is organized by the African Centre for Mineral Exploration and Development (ACMED), a research-focused center was established and domiciled in the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, Nigeria to engage stakeholders in the analysis of the challenges, prospects, and opportunities in the solid mineral subsector across the continent. The challenges that confront Africa’s solid mineral subsector are also opportunities for the generation and enfranchisement of knowledge to address them. This conference presents an opportunity to network and harness the enormous knowledge base of Africans at home and in the diaspora with the ultimate goal of using solid mineral resources as one of the instruments for the socioeconomic transformation of the continent. The issues raised in this rationale informed the objectives of the Conference which are as follows: • To identify, synthesize, and analyze the factors impeding sustainable and optimum utilization of solid mineral resources in Africa and proffer solutions to them • To engage researchers/experts, policymakers, politicians, investors, innovators, and other stakeholders in the analysis of the challenges and opportunities presented by the solid mineral subsector under the global energy transition • To provide a platform for stakeholders, including Africans in the diaspora, professional societies, public institutions, private sector, academic institutions, and students to identify deficiencies and opportunities recommend solutions, and initiate collaborative projects and programs on sustainable and optimal utilization of solid minerals for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the continent. To provide an opportunity for research partnerships, bilateral cooperation, networking, business matching, signing of agreements and partnerships, etc. among the stakeholders in the Sector.