“Not only a landmark achievement but an encouragement for the mining sector” is how the President of the Miners Association of Nigeria, Alh. Sani Shehu, describes the hugely successful, second edition of the Nigeria Mining Week
conference and exhibition that took place in Abuja in October. He adds: “the participation of about 14 nations is an illustration of the desire of global players, service and technology providers to go beyond their shores and tap into the minerals-rich soil of Nigeria.”
The event was attended by over 700 mining experts and decision makers, including the Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, various Permanent Secretaries and the Governor of Taraba State, His Excellency Darius Dickson Ishaku.
The exhibition saw some 23 leading local and global industry leaders showcase their products and services while 476 visitors were able to take advantage of the free technical workshop programme to grow artisanal and small-scale operations with an A to Z mining toolkit. More than 80 mining houses were represented at the high-level strategic conference during which the challenges and opportunities of the Nigerian mining sector were unpacked; these include access to finance, how to improve investor confidence and efficiencies in obtaining mining licences as well as the lack of infrastructure.
Improvement in Brand Nigeria
Mines and Steel Development Minister Dr Kayode Fayemi said during his opening keynote address that according to a recently released World Risk Report, Nigeria had made remarkable improvements in both hard risk and perceived risk factors, stating: “the Nigerian Mining Jurisdiction is now considered to have a better investment risk profile than Russia, China, India and several other leading jurisdictions. Nigeria is now ‘perceived’ to have a better investment risk profile than New York!”
The Minister added: “overall, the results of the improvement in Brand Nigeria in the international mining space, has increased mining-related activity in Nigeria with growing interest and several new entrants.”
PwC committed to supporting the sector
Uyi Akpata, Country Senior Partner, PwC Nigeria, reiterated PwC’s commitment to supporting the development of the sector, tracing the firm’s early efforts in gathering stakeholders in the sector which has led to the emergence of the Nigeria Mining Week.
Uyi Akpata said: “our support for the development of this sector is in line with our purpose, which is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We identify the potential of this sector in diversifying the revenue base of government and creating opportunities for our people and we know that government cannot achieve it alone. We are in this for the long term and will continue to support and build capacity in the sector.”
Nigeria’s seven strategic minerals
Highlights and recommendations from the presentations and discussions during the Nigeria Mining Week strategic conference include:
– The Ministry of Mines and Steel introduced the proposed integrated automation and interactive solid minerals portal.
– It is expected that the Geographic Information System (GIS) of the portal will improve efficiency of the licence process, give information as to where opportunity lies and improve investor confidence.
Finance master class
– It is advisable for prospective mining companies to undertake a feasibility study, invest their own cash to perform preliminary data gathering to attract financiers.
The impact and influence over the investor’s flow: Reinsuring international investors with transparency
– To improve transparency and investor confidence, some measures have been taken by the Government. For example:
– The National Council of Mining and Mineral Development has been set up to foster relationships with stakeholders and achievements of the roadmap for the industry.
– In the next six to nine months, it is expected that an ISO certified minerals testing lab will be established and operational in the country.
– The IT geographical information system being driven by the ministry is also expected to improve the ease of doing business in the industry.
– As part of the initiatives available to participants in the sector, the World Bank has in place a “proof of concept” initiative which is aimed at encouraging participants to grow their business to the feasibility stage and assist them get funding to facilitate production of mineral products.
Relevance of the Nigerian mining industry – A focus on the strategic minerals
– According to the road map, the seven strategic minerals are Gold, Bitumen, Limestone, Lead & Zinc, Coal, Barite, and Iron ore. However, selected based on comparable advantage, potential for economic deposits, and global outlook, the key minerals in Nigeria include: gold, base metals (tin & lead zinc), rare metals (niobium, tantalum, lithium) and energy minerals (coal and oil sands).
– There has been progressive growth in the sector as tin is now used in automobile manufacture, lithium deposits are the main drivers of batteries for automobile industries and coal is reviewing its role from traditional electricity generation to be used as sources of fuel (Coal To Liquid, CTL) and in the production of other products, for example – wax.
Access to finance: Learn from the leaders and established businesses
– The mining sector requires long-term finances. To meet the long-term investments of the sector, leasing and partnership with export credit agencies could be explored.
– At the feasibility and exploration stage, participants should raise capital privately (using alternative funding options like crowd or poll funding) and the focus should be on building reliability, good product and establishing investor confidence to encourage external/foreign investments.
– Following the financing needs of the sector, the Solid Minerals Development Fund supports the development phase of the sector while the commercial banks (who are focused on having bankable investments) can be key players from the production phase.
Power, infrastructure and the mining sector: a contributor to the country’s economic growth
– There should be a shift of focus from ‘political projects’ to centralized long-term projects focused on a ‘pits-to-ports’ approach with linkages to states with minerals. The long-term project should focus on a railway, port and internal container interface which would reduce the dependency on road networks and reduce the high logistics cost in the industry.
Nigeria Mining Week once again enjoyed strong support from local government and industry alike with silver sponsorships from Ondo State, SBOG and Taraba State. Bronze sponsors at the event were 3MGeo Resources, AELEX, AG Vision Mining, Congo Energy Solutions, Italtec, Kian Smith Trade & Co, Mantrac, Minelab, Nasarawa State, NiMet, Panafrican Group, Rubble Master, SMT and Ubimet.
Nigeria Mining Week is a successful partnership between the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), PwC and event organisers Spintelligent, providing a high-level, strategic mining investment platform linking investors, project developers, financiers, technology providers and government to share best practices and demonstrate the latest strategies to evolve the sector successfully.
The Nigeria Mining Week organiser Spintelligent is a multi-award-winning trade conference and expo organiser on the continent. The company has particular expertise and experience in mining and infrastructure development events; including the long running flagship shows such as Future Energy Nigeria in Lagos (formerly WAPIC), DRC Mining Week in Lubumbashi, the Kenya Mining Forum in Nairobi and African Utility Week in Cape Town.