The Geological Society of Nigeria (GSN) has announced plans to convene a stakeholder roundtable to unlock the $1 trillion investment potential of the country’s minerals and mining sector.
The Society’s co-founder and president, Mr. Uba Sa’idu Malami, told journalists over the weekend in Abuja that GSN’s first Mining Roundtable will serve as a real platform for participants to brainstorm and articulate the need for the deliberate deployment of the government for mineral exploration in the country.
Malami said the July 13, 2023 event at the Transcorp in Abuja will bring together skilled individuals, both local and international, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), PwC, Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) and other institutional stakeholders as key participants in the roundtable . .
He says the availability of high-quality geodata on critical minerals is strategically important for attracting the foreign direct investment (FDI) needed to unlock the country’s mineral resources and investment potential, which the World Bank estimates at between $700 billion and $1 trillion treasure.
While saying the government should lead mineral exploration, the GSN chief noted that it is “critical” to convince foreign investors of the country’s readiness to welcome FDI in mining, even as he added that the national governments of Canada, Australia and South Africa and some of their regional government agencies are primarily responsible for mineral exploration in countries known for having the most established mining regimes in the world.
Malami, a former president of the country’s Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), emphasized the importance of best practices in mineral exploration saying, “Only JORC-compliant exploration methods with relevant competent persons should be deployed to validate the geodata reports. generate to arm the report with the credibility it needs to serve as currency for attracting FDI to unlock the country’s mining resources and investment potential.
He underlined the critical importance of mitigating the sector’s risks and called for greater federal government involvement in geospatial acquisition, stating that the government should take the lead in attracting FDI to the sector by defend the quest to provide the necessary geoscientific data.
While saying that some countries that are ready and willing to partner with Nigeria for the exploration and exploitation of the critical minerals before deployment in the various industrial sectors they need, the GSN president said the round table will discuss how and why President Bola Tinubu’s administration should lead the effort to exploit the country’s mineral reserves.
“The federal government must realize that it has an exclusive role that cannot be played by the government of any other country,” he said, calling for undivided efforts on the part of the Tinubu administration.
According to Malami, it would be very difficult to negotiate with a serious investor until Nigeria has such a clear document.
In discussing the role of the GSN Mining Investment Roundtable in advocating professionalism in Nigeria’s mineral exports, the president hinted that “geology plays a very important role in mining”, stating that geological exploration is required in mining, a job he believes only geologists have. trained to perform.
“So the roundtable that the GSN proposes to organize is to focus on the fundamentals – namely the production of the geodata report which is of very high economic value, especially in terms of the selected minerals, an effort already started by the previous administration through the NIMEP project, but should be stimulated by greater commitment on the part of the government,” he reiterated.
He said the roundtable would bring together stakeholders who will discuss and bring on board ideas on global best practices that will enable GSN to bring the best for our country and for the foreign investors who would come on board.
Countries with developed mining regimes such as Canada, Australia and South Africa are expected at the conference to share their experiences, he added.
He further argued that the main barrier to mining investment in Nigeria is the absence of robust data on available mineral resources, especially the critical minerals.
The Society acknowledged the previous government’s efforts to address the lack of geoscience data through the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) on some strategic minerals, adding that the project, which was overseen by the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency ( NGSA), the doors for some investors to get in touch with the Nigerian mining sector.
“It is clear that reliable geoscientific data is first and foremost what a serious investor would look for when engaging the Nigerian mining industry and the NIMEP project is a good start but to be fair there is a need for a more deliberate commitment from the government to promote data sourcing as they do in oil and gas.
“In oil and gas, exploration is given to reputable companies who generate data (in line with oil exploration best practices) that allow potential investors to participate in bidding for the various oil blocks for sale. standing,” he said.
He said in the same vein that the government should articulate the mining sector’s exploration commitments to highlight the critical mineral resources that are of particular importance, stating that the essence is to make investors a lot more comfortable working with the mining sector.
Malami agreed with a World Bank report that the mining sector in Nigeria has an investment potential of between $700 billion and $1 trillion and explained that the NIMEP project (which was successfully supervised by the NGSA) is a tip of a iceberg was given the vast geological data investors need for such critical minerals.
“There is global excitement about lithium, barite, nubium, tin, phosphate, lead, lead-zinc, coal, limestone, gold, iron ore and bitumen,” he said, though he expressed concern that Nigeria has deposits of these very important minerals sought after worldwide, the country has failed to establish proven reserves of the respective minerals.
While saying that existing as evidenced by the roadmap for growth and development of Nigeria’s mining sector prepared by the government in 2015, Malami stated that while browsing data suggests Nigeria has between $700 billion and $1.00 trillion in solid minerals , he expressed concern that there is the challenge of uncertainty about the mineral endowment numbers in that report.
“Only detailed JORC-compliant mineral exploration can end the speculation permeating and inhibiting FDI regarding these minerals,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of best practices, he said, “One of the greatest benefits of having proven reserves is that it adds to the balance of Nigeria as a country”, stating that the NIMEP project should be highly commended in this regard become.