15 June 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal government has said the country’s quest to position the sector will not be achieved except it is recognised by the international mining community as a serious mining destination.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, made this known in his keynote speech at the National Mining Summit and ConMin West Africa tagged; “Unearthing Nigeria’s Mining Sector” which began in Abuja on Tuesday.
Fayemi said the ministry had enlisted critical stakeholders domestically and globally as enablers to achieve the ministry’s goal to be a mining destination.
The minister stressed that one of the priority goals of the ministry is to position the mining sector to play a greater role in sustainably diversifying the country’s revenue base, creating jobs and fast-tracking industrialisation.
He said the African Mining Vision (AMV) that was adopted in 2009 during the African Union (AU) summit, which Nigeria domesticated, had helped Nigeria’s mining industry to find its bearing.
According to him, the AMV prescribes integrating mining into industrial and trade policy at regional level to encourage, collaborate and ensure healthy competition among mining countries.
He said the ministry considered it important to have a platform for bringing stakeholders in the sub region together to share ideas and compare notes on how to collaborate and ensure that available resources work for the people.
To this end, he said the ministry collaborated with Afrocet Montgomery, and worked with Deloitte to host the summit in order to take the lead in driving the achievement of the objectives of the AMV collectively and at the country level.
“It us our vision to use this platform to place Nigeria prominently in the international mining calendar and to beneficially attract greater attention to our country as a Sub-region,” the minister stated.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, said the summit would provide a framework for sustainable and enabling environment for the continued growth and development of the mining sector.
Onyema said present statistics on the Nigerian mining sector indicated a tremendous opportunity for growth, as it accounts for 0.02 per cent of exports, 0.3 per cent of national employment and contributes 0.5 per cent an estimated N2 billion to the nation’s GDP.
He said this representation was low compared to global trends for the sector, adding that in 2015, the South African mining industry contributed 19.6 billion dollars toward the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), representing 7.1 per cent of overall GDP.
The NSE chairman said that Australian mining sector on the other hand contributed 114.9 billion dollars to GDP in 2016.
He said globally, the Metals and Mining sector was among the largest sectors, going by the number of companies in operation and its employment size.
“The role of the capital market in harnessing the Nigerian Mining sector’s potential and providing entrepreneurs with access to large, affordable funding for capital intensive projects could not be overemphasise.”
He said the NSE had been well-positioned as a premiere listing destination for African corporate, governments and international issuers looking to access the capital market of the largest economy in Africa.
He encouraged the Federal and State Governments as well as the mining industry to seriously consider leveraging the opportunities that abound in the Nigerian capital market to grow the sector.
According to him, NSE also looks forward to assisting the ministry to achieve its mandate of establishing a 600 million dollars investment fund for the sector.
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Ghana, Mr John-Peter Amewu, noted that his country had been mining since 100 years ago.
Amewu urged African countries to put adequate policy in place to regularise the activities of artisanal miners.
In his remarks, the High Commissioner of Australia to Nigeria, Mr Paul Lehman, said his country, which had 23 million population had made tangible progress in mining activities over the years.
Lehman said his country had generated huge amount from mining activities over the years through different windows to attract foreign investments.
He said his country had assisted Nigeria in the areas of skills acquisition, scholarship and mining among others.
The event was attended by many dignitaries including Ministers from African countries, investors, traditional rulers, and Diplomats among others. The three-day event will continue on Thursday with a round-table session.