You said that the business community has been largely ignorant of the economic potential in this sector. Don’t you think it is because the community has found a ‘comfort zone’ in oil?
Recently, there have been key developments affecting the sector that are intended to make it more conducive for private investment.
Nigeria is endowed with abundant solid mineral resources of various kinds. The solid minerals sector has the capacity to provide an estimated three million jobs, both in its upstream and downstream sectors. There is local and international demand for solid minerals resources, which provide substantial trade and investment opportunities for both local and international investors. Recently, there have been key developments affecting the sector that are intended to make it more conducive for private investment.
What are the features of this reform?
The features of the reform include the
- Development of a new national policy that clearly defines the role of the government
- Review of the Minerals and Mining Law to create a regulatory environment that attractive to mining investment capita,
- Restructuring of the National Mining Cadastre – a transparent and efficient mechanism for granting access to mineral titles,
- Strengthening geological data generation and dissemination capability
- Divestment of government interest in mining through privatisation of mineral assets of public mining corporations
- Promotion and marketing of investment opportunities.
What is now necessary is for the local investors to position themselves for foreign partnership and international funding by packaging their companies and embarking on value added strategies other than having exploration licences without proof of adequate and factual geo-physical survey, geo-chemical analysis, geo-techniques/exploration and bankable feasibility study of their licensed sites. All of these will afford the local investors seeking foreign partnership what to expect and ways of negotiating other than “we have the minerals” and also afford them the power of negotiation. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate for.
How well have foreign investors received the potential in the mineral sector?
The limited success of Nigeria’s investment drive in the mining sector can be linked to lack of modern geophysical data, which is the bedrock of modern mining but having carried out first and second phases of the airborne geophysical survey funded by World Bank under the sustainable management of minerals resources project in the ministry of mines and steel development, the mining sector should be witnessing a boom in the next few years if the ministry can create awareness of the availability of the contemporary data in exploration and market very effectively. Investors are watching and waiting in earnest to take calculated risks if adequate contemporary data in exploration are made available.