Alake Urges Foreign Businesses to Invest in Nigeria’s Mining Sector

Folalumi Alaran in Abuja

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has described Nigeria as Africa’s choice  mining investment destination, emphasising incentives and policies promoting ease of doing business in the mining sector.

The minister disclosed this while virtually addressing the Nigeria-Australia Investment Roundtable.
Highlighting efforts to combat illegal mining and insecurity around mining areas, Alake cited the establishment of the 2,220 strong elite para-military force tagged “Mining Marshals” which is made up of a 60-man rapid response squad, deployed in each of the 36 states of the federation and FCT.
“Illegal mining is not just unlicensed mining. It covers licensed miners operating with invalid licenses or licensed miners operating outside their coordinates or mining minerals not approved in their licenses.

“The specialised mining marshals have in the little time of operations discouraged illegal mining, brought relief to recognised miners and is clamping down on those involved in nefarious activities around mining areas across the country”, the  minister added.
Speaking further, Alake assured the Australian investors that plans for the establishment of the private sector led Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation has reached advanced stages.

He stressed that the corporation was poised for Joint Ventures with investors on critical minerals like Lithium, Gold, Baryte Lead, Iron-ore amongst others.
“Both the legislative and corporate processes for the establishment of the corporation have reached appreciable stages. I hope to invite you to the formal unveiling of Nigeria’s intervention in the international mining business, very soon”, he added.

On strengthening regulatory frameworks, the minister revealed that after the revocation of 1,633 titles for default in payment of annual service fees, scrutiny has been extended to other categories of defaulters in a bid to tackle indiscriminate speculation, license racketeering and the menace of those that obtained licenses over the years but refused to move to site.

“We have raised the approval level of permits and licenses for buying minerals; export of minerals and operation of mineral processing centres whilst also authorising the publication of the monthly digest of mining statistics to keep the sector abreast of developments,” he stated.
In addition, Alake urged his audience to make Nigeria their choice investment destination, reiterating the commitment of the Tinubu administration to providing incentives and removing impediments to ease of doing business.
“Australians seeking to expand their mining portfolio to Africa should prioritise Nigeria in view of our positive investment friendly policies and ongoing rapid transformation.

“Many of the heavy equipment imported for mining can be evaluated to qualify for tax waivers and exemption from import duties. Nigeria also has a favourable funds and capital repatriation policy that ensures investors’ funds are not trapped”, the minister asserted.

In a related development, the minister while delivering a keynote address as Chairman of the African Minerals Strategy Group (AMSG) at the first Malawi Mining Investment Forum affirmed that value addition has come to stay as the AMSG is resolute in discouraging exports of raw, unprocessed minerals in Africa.

Alake was unanimously elected as the Chairman of the AMSG, a forum of African Ministers of Solid Minerals/Mineral Resources, on the sidelines of the Future Minerals Forum (FMF) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, earlier in the year.

Represented by secretary of the forum, Moses Engadu, Alake urged other African countries to take a cue from Nigeria by putting in place policies that will promote value addition for maximum beneficiation to citizens and boost the economies of countries on the continent.

“In Nigeria, we have taken the bull by the horn by making the submission of plans for post-extraction processing a new criterion for the approval of mining licenses. We are putting together complimentary measures to evaluate the compliance of existing mining companies with our policy on value addition, “the minister added.

Alake charged African countries to speak with one voice and insist on value addition, expressing optimism that investors that mean well for the continent will embrace the policy for mutual beneficiation.

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