As part of its efforts to ensure sustainability in the Nigerian mining sector, global law firm, Hogan Lovells, recently hosted a forum to discuss global best practices and establish solutions that can lead to sustainable growth in this sector. The symposium was chaired by Hogan Lovells Partner and Head of Africa, Andrew Skipper, during the recent UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.
During the session, it was noted that the federal government of Nigeria had embarked on several economic initiatives to make the mining industry attractive, robust and conducive for investors and operators. These initiatives include tax incentives on equipment and practical steps to encourage export and downstream processing, which are in line with the government’s agenda of diversifying the nation’s economy.
While addressing stakeholders, Skipper highlighted the significance of gaining insights into the Nigerian mining sector, stressing the need to understand the different laws backing the industry. He noted that there are huge opportunities in mining in Nigeria, which need to be recognised and harnessed by stakeholders. “It’s vital that there is a thorough understanding of mining legislation, including applications for and renewals of exploration rights, mining rights and permits in all of the various mining sectors,” said Skipper.
At the summit, Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, explained that, because Nigeria has primarily been known as an oil and gas producer and explorer, the country’s focus for the past four decades has been on this sector. This has led to 30 years of under-development and stagnation in Nigeria’s solid minerals industry. However, the government now wants to diversify from oil and gas and revive Nigeria’s rich mining sector with attractive incentives for investors. Adegbite said, “Our approach to the enactment of a ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil’ era is holistic; this integrated method involves the development of the necessary infrastructure to support the mines and mining communities”.
In his presentation, Prof. Konyin Ajayi, Managing Partner at law firm Olaniwun Ajayi LP, (SAN), praised the strategies being put in place by the ministry, saying it would enhance the development of the sector for the realisation of the government’s agenda of economic diversification.
The panel of speakers at this forum included Kevin Pietersen, Partner at Hogan Lovells Johannesburg; Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development; Osam Iyahen, Director at Africa Finance Corporation (AFC); Abubakar Abba Bello, Chief Executive Officer at Nigerian Export-Import Bank; Kieran Harrington, Consulting Geologist at PW Nigeria Limited; and Catriona Laing, UK High Commissioner to Nigeria.
Twenty-one African leaders joined the UK-Africa Investment Summit on 20 January, which was also attended by UK and African businesses, international institutions and young entrepreneurs.