By Habiba Salihu
LONDON – Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada has said that the nation’s solid mineral deposits has risen to 44 types of resources with indigenous investment dominating the sector.
Gold, Limestone, Iron Ore, Bitumen, Birates, Coal, Tin and Lead-Zinc are among the strategic minerals which had seen increased investment in Nigeria.
Sada disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) at the ongoing Mines and Money conference in London.
The 2014 conference with the theme” Connecting Miners with money and Investors with Opportunities” had over 3,000 participants consisting of investors, financiers and mining developers attended.
The minister who led the Nigerian delegation, said that the recently concluded geographical ariel survey in the country, indicated that more minerals of commercial quantity were deposited many states of the federation.
Although Sada did not reveal the additional minerals to the existing 40, but he however said that all the states in the federation had more than two mineral types.
He also noted that the increased involvement of local direct investment in the sector, saying that the move had attracted joint partnership with foreign investors.
“The bulk of local direct investment is higher than foreign direct investment in Nigeria because indigenous investors are involved in production of minerals.
“While foreign investors are involved in exploration for instance indigenous investors top the lists of quarry operators, and industrialised minerals operators, and that is where the Dangote group of companies and others come in.
According to him, the large percentage of indigenous companies in the mining sector serve as a confidence boost to foreign investors.
“When they see the level of interest by local miners they are motivated, this accounts for an increase in joint venture between local and foreign investors,” Sada added.
While speaking on the challenges of project financing usually encountered by indigenous companies, the minister said that the Small and medium Enterprise (SME) fund established by government also accommodate mining companies.
“Similarly, the Bank of Industry, NEXIM and other commercial banks have been supporting local investors , this is what is encouraging indigenous investors.
” Contrary to believe that stringent measures were impeding access to bank loans, risks and challenges such as infrastructure availability to and from mining sites were major challenges,”he added.
According to him, these are some of the risk because if a bank gives loan to miners it is not meant to build infrastructure, but for investment and without available infrastructure a miner faces challenges.
He explained that government was committed to addressing the risks posed by infrastructure.
“With renewed effort to revamp rail transport, a major railway line which cut across highly mineralised areas of Kogi, Kwara, and Delta states is being refurbished, ” he added.
Sada who presented a paper at the conference, informed participants on the regulatory framework and incentives put in place to attract investment to the sector.
While responding to concerns over the nation’s security challenges, the minister said that, ” risks and challenges do exists but do not pose a significant threat to the sector”.
NAN reports that investors were more concern about the the nation’s regulatory framework for mining and availability of infrastructure(NAN)
By Habiba Salihu