Folalumi Alaran in Abuja
In a resolve to strengthen collaboration between Nigeria and the United States on mining development, both countries have formed a working group that would work out modalities of partnership.
As a follow-up to last week’s Abuja meeting with the United States Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. David Greene, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake on Tuesday led a Nigerian government delegation that met a delegation of the US Government led by Senior Advisor to the US President on Energy and Infrastructure, Mr. Amos Hochstein, on the sidelines of the on-going Investing in Africa Indaba, Cape Town, South Africa.
In his submission, Hochstein stressed that the US has a special relationship with Nigeria, spanning several decades and cutting across diverse sectors.
He affirmed the interest of the United States to work with Nigeria to unlock investments in the mining ecosystem spanning infrastructural development, technical assistance in up scaling mining operations and investment in the mining industry.
“Let’s figure out a way between us where we can share whatever you have with our team, then we can work with companies to see what makes sense for the United States to do.
“We will then look at what the infrastructural needs are to unlock and make those investments more attractive.
“If you want to build a clean mining sector, you can’t do that without electricity. We are already working with your government on clean energy options for us to finance,” he said.
The minister in his remarks lauded US’ interest in the mining sector, emphasising that as Nigeria’s longstanding ally, a new vista of collaboration for mining development will strengthen bilateral relations and translate to mutual benefits for both countries.
“We are putting in place reforms to ensure that we have an enabling environment in the sector, different from the experiences we had in the past.
“I suggest that we form a small joint working group that will fashion out modalities for collaboration and fast-track flow of information on both sides,” Alake said.
On financing, the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) Executive Secretary, Ms. Fatima Shinkafi, stated that certain percentage of oil resources are put into the fund.
Shinkafi highlighted SMDF’s partnership with African Finance Corporation (AFC) to deploy more resources for the generation of more geo scientific-data that will assist investors in making informed decisions on critical minerals.
She said: “Nigeria through the SMDF has resources to co-invest, so it’s not a situation of coming cap in hand without any commensurate contribution.”
Both countries thereafter nominated members into the working group that would commence deliberations in earnest.