Nigeria woos investors to her growing mining sector
Nigeria’s Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah on Friday wooed investors in the solid minerals and metals sector to invest heavily in the sector in Nigeria, saying the sector has great potentials and is the future of the nation’s economy.
Speaking at the 6th edition of the Annual Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADINVEST) Nigeria, Dr Ogah said the summit was an indication that Kaduna state understood the critical role of the sector in the industrial development of the nation’s economy.
“It is on this note that we invite all prospective investors to liaise with the relevant Agencies of Ministry of Mines and Steel development for necessary information to make their investment decisions. Kaduna State Government can also participate as investor through its Special Purpose Vehicle companies to operate legally under the existing legal framework.
“The giant strides of Kaduna State Government in the area of attracting serious investment into the country and the State in particular have started to yield fruits and I am glad that the Minerals & Metals sector, through Messrs. African Natural Resource Group and others, has become an encouragement to other investors.
Pointing out the efforts of Nigeria to boost local production of Barite among other priority minerals, Dr. Ogah said “the management of the Ministry met with the Barite miners over the huge importation of processed Barite into the country by the oil/gas companies and developed a Barite programme to substitute imported products. The programme will be launched before the end of 2021 and oil/gas companies will be using Nigerian Barite processed products for their exploration works…the revenue contribution of the mining sector has been very low due to several factors. We have evaluated these issues and have taken some policy actions including the new export guidelines to address the causes of low revenue….we are working on the ailing assets of defunct Nigerian Mining Corporation, Nigerian Coal Corporation and liquidated Steel Rolling Mills in collaboration with Bureau of Public Enterprises to bring them to production”.
Giving a historical background, the minister said commercial exploitation of solid minerals in Nigeria dates back to 1903 with commodities like Tin, Columbite from Jos, Plateau State and Coal from Enugu… major infrastructure in the country like Tincan Seaport in Lagos, Portharcourt Seaport in Rivers, Eastern Railway line,Western Railway line and the Standard Gauge Central Rail line, Power plants etc. were developed to service the mining sector. The economic contribution of the mining sector was over 5% before the discovery of oil which (unfortunately) transformed the country into an oil-dependent, mono product economy.
He said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was now committed to reviving and boosting the mining sector and making it contribute at least 5 per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2025.
The Minister pointed out that, “Kaduna State is strategically located in the mineral map of Nigeria, bordering other mineral rich states like Niger, Nasarawa, FCT, Plateau etc. The State is endowed with a lot of solid minerals especially minerals of the future like Nickel, Cobalt, Tungsten, Vanadium etc and virtually all the major different types of Nigerian mineral endowment can be found in Kaduna”.
Explaining further, he said “the Federal Government through the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) has generated preliminary geoscience data that can guide the proper identification of “hot spot” areas for detailed exploration across Kaduna State. Mining is an information-based investment and such credible geoscience information will definitely attract serious mining investments into the State…the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development through the State Mines Office can share information with the State government on the status of operations of licenced miners in the State for possible brownfield collaboration with other more equipped investors”.
He called on prospective investors to “liaise with the NGSA officers in the State on how to access and acquire NGSA data for proper guidance of investors to limit investment risks. Prospective investors should endeavour to acquaint themselves with necessary regulatory information to ensure that their operations are in line with the extant laws.”
“The Annual Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit has become a rallying point for serious investment discussions by policy makers, industry players, academia, business communities and other stakeholders and should be sustained for the overall development of the State and Nigeria in General”, the minister stated.