Alake woos international investors to Nigeria’s mining industry

The Minister of Solid minerals development, Dr Dele Alake, has described Nigeria as Africa’s choice mining investment destination with policies that promote the ease of doing business in the mining sector.

He disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja while addressing the Nigeria-Australia Investment Round-table virtually. 

Highlighting efforts to combat illegal mining and insecurity around mining areas, Alake cited the establishment of the 2,220 strong elite 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 licences. 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,” he said.

Speaking further, Alake assured Australian investors that plans for the establishment of private sector-led Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation has reached advanced stage, stressing that the corporation is 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 said. 

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, licence racketeering and the menace of discouraging the practice of obtaining mining licence over the years but refusing to move to site. 

According to him, “We have raised the approval level of permits and licences for buying minerals, export of minerals and operation of mineral processing centres while also authorising the publication of the monthly digest of mining statistics to keep everyone abreast of developments.” 

Alake therefore urged his audience to make Nigeria their investment destination, while reiterating the commitment of the administration to providing incentives and removal of 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 assured. 

In a related development, the minister whilst 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.

It would be recalled that Alake was unanimously elected as the chairman of AMSG, a forum of African ministers of solid minerals 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 would promote value addition for maximum beneficiation to citizens and boost the economies of countries on the continent.