Posts tagged as: solid

Nigeria: With N5bn Intervention Fund, FG Seeks to Boost Solid Minerals Sector

Olaseni Durojaiye examines the impact of a N5 billion funding support for artisanal and small scale miners in the continuing effort of the federal government to diversify the revenue base of the economy

Efforts to grow and develop the country’s mining sector to make it contribute more effectively to government revenues got a boost with the launch of a N5 billion fund for artisanal and small scale miners recently. Besides providing loans for the miners, the fund is seen as a means of bringing the hitherto unwieldy sector under a structured regime.

The launch was almost overshadowed by the euphoria of celebration bordering on the country’s exit from recession. But economic watchers believed the moment called for deep introspection to find ways to consolidate the efforts to diversify the country’s foreign exchange revenue base beyond oil. Developing the solid minerals sector is seen as a veritable step in this regard.

Exit from Recession

Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics penultimate Tuesday indicated that Nigeria’s economy was finally out of recession, as it recorded 0.55 per cent growth. Many celebrated this as an indication of success in the federal government’s efforts to revamp the economy.

However, analysts at SBM Intelligence said, “A growth of 0.55 per cent does not only compensate for the lost ground, it is also below expectations considering the low base the growth is starting from.” They noted on the company website that the positive growth had been predicted by many analysts.

“It was expected, given how the negative growth had already caused the economy to contract, providing a low base for growth to start from,” SBM Intelligence analysts stated. They explained, “Coming out of a recession is not the same as the economy making a recovery. Nigeria is very far from recovering from the loss of the last 18 months. It will be more beneficial if the government and its agents shelve the unnecessary celebration and backslapping.”

They added, “We have wasted a crisis. We will do well not to waste the aftermath of the crisis. It is time to get to serious work.”

Solid Minerals to the Rescue

Economic analysts believe the mining sector is a good area to channel resources in the attempt to achieve economic diversification. They say optimal utilisation of the resources and opportunities that abound in the sector requires the concerted efforts of the different tiers of government.

According to the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, there are over 30 different kinds of solid minerals and precious metals, including Sapphire, Aquamarine, and Topaz, buried in Nigerian soil waiting to be exploited.

While Nigeria’s rich reserve of zinc found in several states is left untapped or left to illegal miners to exploit, the item has gained over 90 per cent in price in the global zinc market since January 2016. Zinc has fetched countries like China, Peru, United States, and Australia huge revenues, according to Investment News, an international journal published in Vancouver, Canada.

The roadmap for the growth and development of the solid minerals sector was first announced in August 2016 after a federal executive council meeting. Announcing the roadmap, Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had stated, “What distinguishes this roadmap, which builds on the old roadmap that was approved in 2012, is its determination to set up an independent regulatory agency, which investors have been insisting on that the ministry which has been serving as facilitator should not be the one that regulates them.”

Intervention Fund

The launch of the N5 billion fund for the benefit of small and medium scale miners, THISDAY gathered, was in furtherance of the solid minerals development roadmap. The initiative, a collaboration between the Ministry of Solid Minerals and Steel Development and the Bank of Industry, will see both parties contributing N2.5 billion each to a N5 billion pool that will be made available to small scale miners in the country. Qualified artisanal miners would be allowed to access between N100, 000 and N10 million, while small-scale miners could get between N10 million and N100 million.

Before the latest initiative, the ministry had embarked on a systematic approach to confronting the challenges facing the sector. THISDAY findings revealed that the ministry recently organised capacity building exercises for miners during which they were trained on various stages of mining and educated to impact on the environment positively in the process of mining.

Other efforts by the ministry to address the challenge of insufficient funding and lack of access to capital include the N20 billion from the mining sector component of the Natural Resources Development Fund and the $150 million from the World Bank to the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) programme.

Speaking at the launch, Fayemi noted that small scale miners accounted for the bulk of activities in the sector, adding that the launch of the fund was to address the challenge of insufficient funding and poor access to capital, a major factor militating against artisanal and small-scale miners. The minister said the BoI would serve as the custodian and manager of the fund, to be given to the artisanal and small scale miners at five per cent interest rate. He said with the appointment of BoI as the custodian and manager of the fund, it would facilitate financing of artisanal and small scale mining projects involving industrial minerals, precious stones, precious metal (gold), dimension stone and such other strategic minerals in Nigeria as would be approved by the ministry and BoI from time to time. Fayemi also stated that proper funding would help to integrate the artisanal and small scale miners into the formal sector, enhance their growth and development in a structured manner, and spur productivity and job creation in the mining sector.

“The Solid Minerals Development Fund is now spearheading the assembly of a $600 million investment fund for the sector, working with entities as the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and others,” the minister said, “In addition to the funding support from multilateral agencies, partnerships on technical cooperation.”

He added that several agreements had also been brokered or re-activated with foreign governments, including existing technical partnerships with the governments of South Africa, China, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and United States of America in line with the framework of Africa Mining Vision.

Analysts

Economic policy analysts have hailed the latest funding initiative. They say it is key to unlocking the huge potentials in the solid minerals sector to make it attractive to foreign investors. But many also say there is need for appropriate legal framework, like is the case in the oil and gas industry.

An economist and research analyst with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Rotimi Oyelere, said, “The mining sector is critical to diversifying Nigeria’s revenue base or sources of foreign exchange away from oil and hydrocarbon.

“The sector holds great potential for foreign exchange for the country; but we must make the sector attractive to foreign investors as was the case with the oil and gas sector and the only way to do that is to put in place a proper regulatory framework in place. The National Assembly should ensure that mining is taken off the exclusive list and placed in concurrent list.”

The governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku, spoke in a similar vein in an interview with THISDAY recently. Ishaku reiterated the need for proper legal framework that would remove mining licensing and administration from the exclusive list so that the states could be involved in mining administration in the country.

The governor said, “There are a lot of taxes which for now we are not getting. After agriculture, the second revenue endowment in the state is mining, and up till now we only have illegal miners, no thanks to lack of enabling law or laws that are not implementable.

“We have more than 30 different kinds of solid mineral resources in Taraba State, the seven rarest minerals are found here. Somebody like me has no business in Abuja going to look for subventions to pay workers’ salary if things were made to work properly.”

Nigeria: Buhari Constitutes Board of Solid Minerals Development Fund (Full List)

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja approved the constitution of the Board of Solid Minerals Development Fund.

A statement by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said Mr. Buhari charged the seven-member board to carry out its duties diligently.

The statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mohammed Abbas, said that the board had Uba Malami from Nasarawa State, a geologist and former Vice-President of the Abuja Chambers of Commerce, as Chairman.

Members of the board are Demola Gbadegesin, a mining investor and electrical engineer from Oyo State, and Theo Iseghohi, Managing Director of Nishan Industries Limited, who hails from Edo.

Other members are Samuel Eze, an accountant and former banker from Ebonyi State; Fatima Shinkafi, a chemist from Zamfara; Uwatt Bassey Uwatt from Akwa Ibom and Yinka Mubarak.

(NAN)

Nigeria

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Nigeria: FG Targets U.S.$27 Billion Revenue From Solid Mineral By 2025

By Mathias Okwe

Abuja — By 2025, the Nigerian government projects to raise the solid minerals sector Gross National Productivity (GDP) from its current 0.3 per cent, or in monetary value of N400b annually, to 10 per cent, representing a whopping $27b, arising from export proceeds and local consumption of mineral products from the sector, including indirect derivatives of activities in the sector.

That is the vision of the new six-chapter Road Map Policy, approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Solid Minerals revenue generation states have equally been approved to benefit from 13 per cent revenue generation to the Federation Account to encourage mineral exploration as part of economic diversification.

Already, an implementation committee to drive the roadmap, and implement the framework to deliver the short, medium and long-term plans of the plan is in place.

Speaking on the plan, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said: “We expect that the roadmap committee, ably co-chaired by professors Ibrahim Garba, and Siyan Malomo, and duly served by their esteemed members, will continue to provide the critical advisory support we need going forward. The new team – the Mining Implementation and Strategy Team (MIST) – will focus on ensuring that the key policy, regulatory, technical, environmental and capacity choices necessary to revive and drive investment growth in mining will be taken without fail.”

He added that should Nigeria successfully implement the proposed recommendations, growth is expected to return to the sector in the form of new exploration activities, operations and production from active mining, functional (and expanded) processing and refining capacity as well as higher value-addition in exports.

Nigeria

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Nigeria: Govt Says Mining Will Add 5 Percent to GDP in 10 Years

By Tobi Soniyi

Abuja — Four years after the federal government announced a roadmap for the development of the solid mineral sector, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) wednesday announced a new road map for the sector.

Also wednesday, the federal government approved the building of a new postgraduate hall for the University of Ibadan and a new library for the University of Lagos.

These were announced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed, after the FEC meeting.

The information minister then called on the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who gave a fuller details.

Fayemi said the road map would lead to job creation in the mining industry and would also in the next 10 years contribute five per cent of the GDP.

He said: “FEC approved the roadmap for the growth and development of the mining industry. What the roadmap seeks to do is to grow the contribution of minning to the GDP. On the back of the president’s vision to diversify the economy. It is to build on old roadmap of 2012.

“What distinguishes this roadmap is its determination to build a regulatory agency – an independent regulatory agency in the minning sector. Stakeholders have been insisting that the ministry should not also be the regulator of the industry.

“We will now have minining cadastral zonal offices which will issue the licenses together with the minning inspecting directorate, minning environment compliance unit as well as the neutical minning units.

“These are directorate within the ministry but will form part of the independent regulatory agency.”

Fayemi said the new roadmap also addressed the critical issue of partnership with states.

According to him, one of the challenges in minning is the tension between the federal government and the states.

He said: “The federal government owns the minerals but the states government own the land.

“Without a robust partnership between the two critical components of minning you are not going to make any headway.”

He said minning had not been thriving because of the tension between the federal government and states. To address this problem, he said minning cadastrail and zonal offices would also be created in the states.

The minister said: “In line with global standard, the roadmap is also to change the name of the ministry from Ministry of Solid Mineral Development to Ministry of Mines and Steel Development , which is what obtains across the board.”

He explained that the roadmap would also To make it easier for foreign direct investment into the country and that government would also improve on geo-science data gathering.

He said government recognised the fact that mining was about science and required a lot of research and had therefore agreed that a lot of money be put into exploration.

He said the roadmap also focused on financing the industry and that President Muhammadu Buhari would want mining to have access to the Natural Resource Fund of the Federation Account which is really meant for agriculture, mining and water resources.

He said mining had never benefited from the fund, which is similar to ecological fund 1.8 per cent of federation.

Fayemi said: “Another focus is to ensure that value addition is gradually being invested to and reduce the manner in which raw minerals are exported from Nigeria. It is to emphasise beneficiation and processing, so that what we produce is also improved upon before we embark on exportation. We also want to ensure it is utilised here. We have granite, marble, bitumen yet we import the bulk of those products into Nigeria because processing does not take place here

“Above all, it focuses to increase the contribution of mining to the GDP of the country. Mining fell from 4.5 per cent of the GDP at independence to 0.33 per cent of the GDP as at today. Given the new focus we can begin to scale that up again, within the next decade it’s readily expected that it will begin to claim up to about five per cent of the nation’s GDP.

“The roadmap gives a sense as to how the country is paying attention to minning development which is more of an employment generator and wealth creator unlike oil, which recruits fewer people. We want to upscale it and improve the skills of the people, making access to finance available and making technology available to them.”

Also speaking, the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu said the federal government had approved contract for the constructing international house for the University of Ibadan, which is a post-graduate hall, at the cost of N1.302,709,02.34.

He put the completion period at 44 weeks.

The minister also said approval was given for contract for the reconstruction of a new library for the University of Lagos at the cost of N1.935,135,87.35.

He said the library built in 1964, had not been expanded nor modernised adding that the new library would augment the old one.

The work would be completed in 64 weeks. Adamu said both contracts would be handled by a local contractor.

Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said FEC approved the renewal of a service providers for technology platform- e-wallet for the delivery of seeds and fertilizers and capturing database of farmers in every local government in the country.

According to him, the e-wallet is a programme of the administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan under the current president of African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, who was then the Minister of Agriculture.

Ogbeh said the programme ran very well in 2012 and 2013 but had few hitches as the ministry got involved in trying to select the providers. This, he said led to the figure of debts piling up to the sum of N67 billion.

He said: “Council today approved the extension by one year of the service provider. They will at the end of the year transfer all the data to an in-house group that will manage the system because the price is quiet high, so that we can keep on monitoring who gets what, at what price and we can also keep an eye on the cost.

The quotation by the company was N884 million but we bargained N380 million

“They will work with us for one more year, teach our people how to do it, domicile the data of farmers which is 20 million of them and continue to work on how to get agriculture inputs to farmers and keep away those who tend not to deliver but make claims.”

Nigeria: Nigeria Consolidates Workable Regulation for Mining Industry

By Cornelius Essen

Abuja — – Mining GDP to exceed $25bn by 2026.

Nigeria is now on the path to consolidating the previous reform efforts aimed at providing a transparent and workable regulatory and policy environment for private sector led mining that is attractive to local and international investors.

To ensure this, President Muhammadu Buhari has unequivocally affirmed that his administration would want solid minerals sector to be a key source of economic growth and diversified revenue base for the country.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who made these known at International Mining Investment Conference, IMICON 2016, said the conference fits into the ministry’s strategic objectives to reposition the mining industry.

He maintained that for several decades, policy-makers and observers warned that Nigeria’s continued dependence on oil as the mainstay of her economy and this jeopardizes the long-term economic growth and development.

“We are now facing a future in which crude oil either ceases to be a strategic resource or one in which our status as a producer becomes relevant to the prospects for economic advancement within the international economic environment.”

Fayemi said based on current data, Nigeria’s solid minerals sector only makes up about 0.34 per cent of gross domestic product, GDP, and this is much smaller than its true potential as the vast majority of the mining assets are yet to be exploited.

He noted that the net outcome will be the creation of thousands of direct jobs and potentially hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs, adding, “we anticipate contribution to mining GDP to exceed $25 billion by 2026 as industries are better able to use the output of the sector.

“One of the major stakeholders, the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, says Nigeria can generate at least N5 trillion annually from mining and exporting of its vast solid mineral deposits, with several multiplier effects on job creation.”

He maintained, the country’s minerals and mining industry is still largely underdeveloped despite its glorious past and abundance of mineral resources for development.

“In addition, the ministry is establishing the Nigerian Solid Minerals Investment Fund, structured as a private sector oriented outfit to provide financing to private sector-led projects in the mining sector,” he added.

Nigeria

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Nigeria: Nuclear Scientists to Probe Suspected Uranium Deaths in Adamawa

By Kabiru R. Anwar

Yola — Scientists from the Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) have arrived Adamawa State to inspect uranium radiation that allegedly killed villagers in Michika Local Government Area.

The Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Shanti Sanshi Victoria, said an expert team from the nuclear agency from Abuja had arrived the state to inspect the site of possible radiation.

She rejected assertions that radiation killed several people in five villages in Michika, saying the outcome of the scientific tests by the experts would provide a clue to the possible health problems in the area as there was still no proven scientific evidence upon which to draw conclusions.

The Director of Geology at the Adamawa State Ministry of Solid Minerals, Dlama Zira had during a recent presentation at the Government House in Yola, said several people had died of radiation from uranium deposits in five communities in Michika, namely Garta, Futubou, Himike, Sina-Kwande Nkala and Ghumthi, saying since the 1950s, villagers had attributed deaths from radiation to evil spirits.

“The people of the affected communities for many years sacrificed hundreds of goats to appease their deity, seeking protection from evil spirit that they believed were causing unidentified illnesses and sudden deaths in the communities. They didn’t know that they were sitting on and drinking water from huge uranium deposits identified by radiation experts as the cause of the illnesses and rampart deaths,’ he stated.

Nigeria

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Nigeria: Government Kick-Starts N256 Million Clean-Up for Shikira Lead Contaminated Sites

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam

The intrigues that have characterized a devastating outbreak of lead poison that killed 28 children and left over 300 hundred others with high level contaminants came to close recently as the Federal Government finally bowed to public pressure and commenced the clean-up of Shikira, a small rural mining community situated in Rafi local government area, Niger State.

The clean up by the Federal Ministry of Environment is coming on the heels of the Minister’s visit to the community to assess the situation, which opened the mind of government to the depth of the epidemic, which subsequently facilitated the commencement of the exercise.

In May 2012, Occupational Knowledge International (Ok International) submitted a report to the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals highlighting flash points of informal mining site is Nigeria that uses dangerous substances and mining techniques, which are also prone to lead poison.

In this report, Niger, Ebonyi, Nassarawa, Kaduna among other states where mentioned. The outbreak of lead in Niger state shows that nothing was done to curtail the use of unhealthy chemicals that has taken innocent lives and mostly children.

Now hope is in sight 15 months after, as government has released N256, 688,000 appropriated in the 2016 budget for ‘Characterization and Remediation of Lead Poison Contaminated Communities’. It would be recalled that in 2010, 400 children lost their lives and over 1, 500 others were infected due to a similar occurrence in Bagega, Anka local government area in Zamfara State.

One of the groups that campaigned for the remediation of the Shikira community, Connected Development [CODE] is extremely excited with the development. The

Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal who doubles as the Co-Founder, Follow The Money stated that “the exercise is mostly profound in the sense that at the moment it is expected to prevent further exposure, open the door of opportunity for the treatment of those already affected as well as restore back the ecosystem and ensure livelihood sources.

“Follow The Money Team, while celebrating this significant landmark in history of the Nigerian mining industry, also want the government to be transparent in carrying out this assignment and come up with a clear work plan showing the actual amount budgeted and a definitive time frame for completion of the project.”

The group called on the federal ministry of Solid Minerals to revisit that OK International report and ensure that its recommendations are followed in subsequent interventions and plans to avert any possible repeat of the ugly situation elsewhere in the country.

He urged the National Assembly to review the 2007 Mining Act to capture present realities in the industry, empower host communities and permanently address the challenges bedeviling large and small-scale artisanal mining activities in Nigeria.

Nigeria

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Nigeria: Govt to Ban Testing of Solid Minerals Abroad

Photo: Marcus Bleasdale/Human Rights Watch

(file photo).

By Gabriel Ewepu

Abuja — There are indications that Federal Government may be on the way to banning testing of solid minerals abroad by operators in the sector.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, gave this indication during the visit of Australian Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary (African Branch), Matthew Neuhaus, in his office.

“We cannot continue the way things are where operators carry out their mineral samples for testing and certification at laboratories abroad and we cannot allow this to continue.

“It is time for the National Geosciences Research Laboratories, Kaduna to have international certification so that it can live up to its billing as the foremost geosciences laboratory in the country. We also need assistance from the Australian government in this area as well.”

Fayemi said the sector needs a collaboration with the Australian government to make the environment safe for miners and host communities, as well as improve and develop the Nigerian mining sector.

He also explained the importance on maintaining a conducive environment for operators and host communities in the sector.

The Minister disclosed that the Ministry of Solid Minerals was working with the Ministry of Environment on environmental safety, and urged Australia as a successful mining economy to partner with the government on best mining environmental practices.

He said: “The government takes the issue of environmental safety seriously, because the health and well being of the people are of paramount interest to us.” he said.

“Owing to Australia’s long experience in mining, we want to share your success story. We have seen the need for the ministry’s geosciences laboratory, the National Geosciences Research Laboratories, Kaduna to be internationally certificated.

Responding the Australian Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary, Neuhaus said his team would work with the Ministry Solid Minerals Development to work out arrangement aimed at realising the two requests presented by the Minister to his country.

Neuhaus restated the commitment of the Australian government towards ensuring that Nigeria takes its position as a mining destination, even as he lauded the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy.

The Minister has been on various talks with mining giants in the world to reposition and jump-start activities in the sector and had also approached banking executives to believe in the sector by giving financial access to operators and supporting the effort of government by financially strengthening the operators in the sector with bid of diversifying the economy.

Nigeria

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South Africa: Nigeria and South Africa in Search of Prosperity in Mining (II)

opinionBy Kayode Fayemi

For the new resource economy to benefit both local and global stakeholders, we are taking an activist posture towards issues of developing local content and ensuring a transfer of skills and technology that will be to our nation’s advantage in the medium and long term. While we are committed to maintaining a liberal business environment, we are also mindful that the new resource economy results in a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

This is why we intend to see to it that host communities are directly and positively impacted by the activities that will be undertaken in their domains. The historic restiveness in the Niger Delta and labour related uprisings in the South African mining industry can be put permanently in the past with this new approach to governance of the extractives industries.

Today, the continent’s fortunes appear partially stalled. Pundits wonder if our work of reform is entirely hostage to shrinking commodities demand from China and India. The decline the naira and the rand have suffered in the past year is partially linked to the commodities narrative. Nonetheless, the truth is that Africa’s narrative of prosperity has deeper roots, and is firmly in our control.

Nigeria has our eyes set on a rebound in the global commodities market, hopefully sooner than later, and we are doing everything possible in the interim to ensure we position our industry for market dominance when that time comes.

We will work towards stoking aggregate demand and restructuring entire swathes of our societies to prepare them for the next generation of jobs, and delivering a joined up locomotive of growth. Hopefully, other African countries will take a cue from the renewed commitment of our countries to partner towards building the capabilities to create jobs and broaden the economic opportunities available to young Nigerians and South Africans. The aggressive integration of our economies will also create new corridors of growth for our neighbours and partners in both the ECOWAS and SADC regions.

We will find smart mechanisms for leveraging each other’s key strengths and easing the modalities for engagement between businesses in both countries e.g. visa liberalisation for skilled mining and petroleum workers to help speed transitions as well as maintain growth momentum. We will also push our citizens to interact more intensively, whether it is in vacationing in each other’s countries or forming new personal networks. A shared experience and prosperity is the key to a new wave of African economic growth, and our presidents are determined to deliver on that pledge.

As we welcome South Africa’s delegates to Abuja on a follow-up technical visit next week, and as momentum gathers towards the Nigeria-South Africa bi-national commission holding in August this year, we will continue to explore means of creatively building bridges between our countries towards modeling the possibilities that African integration offers for shared growth and prosperity. While we may have started at different points as independent, proud nations, our commitment to improving the living conditions of our citizens continues to pull us along a familiar pathway. Neither republic is perfect; we have our flaws, but we also have our strengths, and we are constrained by our responsibility to history and to our fellow Africans, to leverage them for the common good.

We look forward to welcoming more South African investors to Nigeria, just as we know that South Africa is extending an equally warm embrace to Nigerians. Nelson Mandela’s historic admonishment that Nigeria and South Africa must work together to transform Africa rings louder at this time than ever before. This is the least we can do in fulfilling the African mining vision (AMV). Indeed, as Madiba’s spirit smiles on this partnership he so treasured, let us his followers and friends ennoble his legacy with a renewed pledge of progressive brotherhood, towards shared prosperity in mining.

concluded

Dr. Kayode Fayemi is Minister of Solid Minerals Development

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Nigeria: Nigeria and South Africa in Search of Prosperity in Mining (I)

opinionBy Kayode Fayemi

The state visit to Nigeria by President Jacob Zuma sometime ago marked the beginning of a new chapter in relations between Nigeria and South Africa. Both countries have shared a sometime turbulent history; we have also at different times reveled in the joy of aligned moral purpose – at some point towards the dismantling of apartheid, at some other point in the struggle to enthrone democracy.

During the visit, both President Zuma and his host President Muhammadu Buhari made it a point of duty to strengthen the historical bonds of friendship between the peoples of Africa’s two largest economies. The rapprochement between both countries is one of the results of President Buhari’s economic diplomacy, which has focused on rebuilding Nigeria’s image and relationships in the comity of nations. This development can only result in positive outcomes for both economies, and also ensure alignment on the strategic future that we believe offers Africa its full potential.

The visit also offered the opportunity for Nigeria and South Africa to renew the pledge of partnership on a number of key issues including mining. An existing 2013 MOU outlining areas of partnership in the fields of geology, mining, mineral processing and metallurgy which had not been implemented, was resuscitated. President Buhari thus mandated the Ministry Of Solid Minerals Development to work with our South African counterparts to pursue the full implementation of the agreement.

Having identified South Africa as one of our strategic partners towards growing our mining sector, and on the back of improved diplomatic relations, I recently led a small delegation on a two-day working visit to South Africa, during which I met with my counterpart, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Hon. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane, as well as the leadership of mining-related government entities, mining industry leaders and experts.

Our delegation gained a lot of insights from the knowledge sharing sessions with the leadership of the department of mineral resources, council of geosciences, Mintek and other government entities, and the progressive discussions on opportunities of collaboration with some of South Africa’s finance institutions – especially the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Accordingly, the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has outlined details of the implementation plan for the 2013 MOU on mining which provides details of the priority areas Nigeria wishes to benefit from the South African mining industry’s competitive advantage. These include: advanced geological surveys – detailed geo-sciences data generation; data interpretation analysis and application; assistance in the accreditation of the geosciences analytical metallurgical laboratories in Kaduna; exploration data reporting standards, etc.; mining governance – the review of existing legal and legislative framework; improved mines inspectorate operations and technologies; upgrading and management of cadastral processes and operations e.t.c.; mineral processing and development – processing of industrial minerals; beneficiation processes and technologies; value addition, quality assurance and standards in mineral development, e.t.c.

Other areas include metallurgy – improvement of metallurgical inspectorate operations and technologies; indigenous professional skill acquisition and technology transfer; metallurgical processes; steel making technologies etc; artisanal and small scale mining operation – production/supply of small and medium sized plants and machinery for small and mid-tier mining and processing e.g. the igoli gold processing mill; development of industrial clusters in downstream mineral fabrication and manufacturing; environmental safety and sustainability – enforcement of environmental safety and compliance regulations; review of sustainability frameworks and regulations; remediation processes, e.tc.

Nigeria is also looking to benefit from the wealth of human capital resource in South Africa’s mining industry in areas such as – capacity building in global best practices along the value chain of the mining industry – occupational, health, safety and environment (OHSE), mines inspectorate and revenue collection, Mineral Production Assessment (ASM) management, steel and metallurgical inspectorate technology and regulation, etc.; as well as benefiting from technical assistance in the development of coal-to-power projects in Nigeria as part of our objectives to achieve a vibrant energy mix and realise our target of 10,000 mw of energy by 2019. The ministry also seeks to learn from the optimal organisation of private sector players in the South African mining space.

Conversely, as South Africa’s putative oil industry gets off the ground, Nigeria should share the lessons that our experience affords us. Nigeria’s oil history, while it has a number of prominent missteps, still contains critical lessons which should be shared, together with our expertise in the oil and gas industry built over the years.

Invariably, both our countries need to implement a departure from the perception and treatment of resource-rich locales as extractive farms, and move towards encouraging the establishment of value-added economic activities within them. This administration is particularly focused on creating a broad spectrum of value-added activities by fully maximising the abundant opportunities for mineral beneficiation, exploiting the possibilities inherent in support services and support industries that will be nurtured around core mining activities.

To be continued

Dr. Kayode Fayemi is Minister of Solid Minerals Development

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