By Victoria Onehi
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite,has reitarated Nigerias’ commitment towards attracting domestic and foreign investments into the Mining Sector.
The Minister stated this at the 2022 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention, Trade Show and Investors Exchange held in Canada.
In his Speech, Adegbite said, in pursuit of the goals set forth in the Nigerias’ Mining roadmap, the government initiated an ambitious reform regime in the sector. The flagship of which was the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Programme (NIMEP), designed to rapidly generate bankable geoscientific data with the aim of de-risking the sector and attracting high caliber investments.
“Target minerals under the first phase include Gold, Lead-Zinc, Iron Ore, and the Battery Minerals, among others. The contractors have executed and completed the exploration works on Gold, Platinum Group of Elements (PGEs), Lead-Zinc, Iron Ore and Barites. Results on Greenfields and Brownfields are on process to be declared for investment opportunities.
” As we deepen our efforts, we are doing so with lessons learned from a half-century of resource extraction. We recognize, for instance, that it is not enough to seek investments merely for the sake of exploitation and extraction. Rather than writing this new chapter of economic growth, our aim is to develop local industries, generate employment, and focus on resource beneficiation to create wealth along the mineral value chain.”he said.
Adegbite noted that early evidence that the mining framework is on the right track is the inflow of notable investments. These include Thor Exploration Limited’s Segilola Gold Mine Project, in Osun State, which has an initial production capacity of 80,000 ounces of gold annually, representing the first large-scale Gold Mine in Nigeria.
In June last year, government commissioned the Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refinery (DGPMR) Project. The company set out to be a foremost indigenous refiner and trader of gold and other precious metals. Its potential impact on the gold sector is nothing short of revolutionary. By providing offtake opportunities through the establishment of Precious Metals Buying Centres, it serves as a spur for more small and medium scale mining investment, while its refinery symbolises its focus on value addition in the gold and precious metals industry in Nigeria and West Africa.
A similarly remarkable investment is the integrated Iron Ore Mining and Processing Plant set up by African Natural Resources and Mines Limited (ANRML) in Kaduna, which has an initial production capacity of 4.704 million tons of iron per annum and will scale up to 5.88 million tons per annum by 2025.
In line with the economic diversification plan of the Government, Adegbite said the Ministry has issued a Request for Qualifications for bidders interested in receiving concessions to begin the production of bitumen in Nigeria as the country possesses about 42 billion tons of proven reserves of bitumen, estimated to be the sixth largest in the world. These blocks are located close to key ports for export purposes and import of mining equipment, and railways cutting across areas with bitumen deposits. Therefore, we seek for suitably qualified investors with pre-requisite experience, technological expertise and financial capacity for the development of bitumen resources in Nigeria.
“In addition to smoothly providing mineral titles, we have also institutionalised business-friendly incentives to encourage investment in Mining. The incentives as enshrined in the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, include:Customs and import duties waiver for plant, machinery and equipment imported for mining operations; Tax holidays of between three to five years as applicable e.t.c.”
“While this is encouraging, we recognise that there is still a lot of work to be done. That is why this forum is so important, we are privileged to have in attendance so many distinguished experts and resource persons that deeply understand governance vis-à-vis the Mining Sector in Nigeria.”
“I wish to urge those who are still dithering about investing in the Nigerian Mining Sector to take the leap. Our country still provides one of the highest rates of return on mining investment as our minerals are closer to the surface, conferring the advantage of lower cost of production when compared to other mining jurisdiction.”