Prof. Adesoji Adesugba Presentation on Exploring Investment Opportunities In The Nigerian Solid Minerals Sector For Economic Diversification
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Provost at ACCI Best centre ,The National Coordinator, Gemstones Miners and Marketers Association of Nigeria, and National Vice President of the
Nigerian Chamber of Mines during is paper presentation on Exploring Investment Opportunities In The Nigerian Solid Minerals Sector For Economic Diversification at the ongoing 3rd Abuja Investment Expo stated that Nigerian solid mineral sector is a potential driver of economic growth and poverty reduction at both local and International levels. The sector emphasizes economic expansion that directly leads to more significant economic, social interaction, and development within the mining industry as Nigeria is rich with enormous natural resources.
He affirmed that in Mining Unprecedented opportunities are available for those interested in mineral prospecting and exploration. Different minerals occur in several states of the country, and they are good revenue earners for local and international.
Limestone is an excellent example of one mineral we have gotten right, with a remarkable success story. Annual demand for limestone is about 18 million metric tonnes with eight cement companies operating in Nigeria. Limestone in huge deposit is found in Kogi, Edo, Ogun, Ebonyi, Benue, Cross River and Gombe States. The massive deposit of limestone encouraged the establishment and operation of cement factories in Nigeria.
Today, with an aggressive import substitution strategy via the local manufacturing of cement, the local cement manufacturers have moved Nigeria from being a net importer of cement to a net-exporter in less than a decade. Almost $10 bn was saved in foreign exchange over the last ten years, with $2bn in savings in 2014. The Dangote Group alone earned over $600m in 2016 from cement exports. The limestone success story is a win-win one that has created shared prosperity for all stakeholders.
There are considerable opportunities in the mining of bitumen in Nigeria. Currently, the country is eager to create a more sustainable energy mix for the country. About 1000MW of clean energy is projected to be generated by 2020 from Coal.
There are also over 3billion tones of iron ore found in Kogi, Enugu, Niger, Zamfara, and Kaduna States. The recognized regulator for all mining activities in the country is the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office, an agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Solid Minerals.
Nigeria is amongst the countries having abundant mineral resources with a variety of colored gemstones. Some of the gems found in Nigeria include tourmaline, sapphire, ruby, beryl, topaz, garnet, spinel, and quartz. Gemstones are natural organic matter, minerals or stones, which are available in igneous rocks and alluvial gravels. Gemstones in cut and polished forms are used to make jewellery or other adornments. The availability of these gem deposits has increased the interest of individuals and groups in searching and acquiring it to improve their revenue base.
He further stated, there are vast opportunities in the mining of several other minerals. What is most important is that we strive to make our mining sector more sophisticated by charting new courses in the beneficiation of our minerals. Currently, most minerals are exported out of Nigeria as raw materials without beneficiation. This has resulted in the loss of revenue for the country, as we are not able to derive premium value on the commodities in their primary state.
Vast opportunities also abound in the mining sector for those interested in geosciences. Other practitioners such as Lawyers, Risk Analysts, and Business Service Consultants have opportunities to participate in the mining value chain, as their services are required to support new companies entering into the market with business plans, feasibility studies, market research, etc. Other experts are also needed to professionally engage stakeholders in the communities on behalf of companies when they begin exploration in the fields.
Government’s commitment to environmental fairness requires Safety Experts for necessary Environment Impact Assessment; Considering Mining is a hazardous endeavour, Doctors and Paramedics are needed on mines to respond to emergencies; even the welfare of different cadres of mining workers require such services as Catering and Hospitality, especially on huge mines. Also, opportunity lies in equipment sales and leasing. Mining equipment is generally expensive, which makes affordability a challenge. Through equipment leasing, there is an opportunity for equipment re-sell or renting.
Some challenges the industry is facing are Limited Infrastructures such as water, transport, and port handling, facilities, Insufficient Geological Data, Low productivity, Environmental Challenges, Weak Institutional Capacity, Weak Ease of Doing Business and Perception Issues.
The 2016 Roadmap for the growth and development of the Nigerian Mining Industry’s vision and goals includes:
- Stabilize the sector and rebuild market confidence (2016 – 2018)
- Establish Nigeria as a competitive African mining and mineral processing center (2016 – 2020)
- Selectively compete in the global market for refined metals and minerals, in addition, to select ore exports
Further involvement of the private sector in the mining industry will contribute to the actualization of the sector goal by making new investments into the sector, growing existing ones and encouraging everyone. The private sector will enable the creation of an enviable mining ecosystem in Nigeria.
It is essential to sound a note of caution that the Mining Sector is not for those interested in becoming overnight millionaires – the mining sector is favourable to those who can commit to thoroughly build knowledge about the industry, patiently develop viable investments over an extended period, in order to be positioned to seize emerging opportunities in the sector.
He concluded be inviting everyone on the road to share mining prosperity.