NIPC INTERVIEW: “Nigeria needs to leverage on its wealth of mineral resource to create jobs and wealth and this is what the Nigeria Mining Week seeks to achieve”

1. Can we start with some background on yourself and role?
My name is Aminu Suleman Takuma, acting Director, States Coordination Department, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, also a Member of the Sub-National Enabling Business Environment Committee (World Bank Ease of Doing Business Programme). I have over nineteen years’ experience in investment promotion, facilitation and aftercare services in Infrastructure Development, Agricultural Value Chain and Mineral Resources Development. 

My expertise lies in strategic alliances with investors to effectively align with and support key agribusiness investment initiative and infrastructure improvement. I have built and retained high-performance teams that provide strategic, operational and administrative services to existing and potential investors by developing and motivating skilled professionals. I have also facilitated entrepreneurial ventures, business investment workshops and economic trips abroad. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Operations Research and a Masters in International Affairs & Diplomacy.

2. Any existing projects that you are currently involved in that you can share?
Presently I am involved in an ongoing project in across the states of Nigeria, the Programme “NIGERIAN CERTIFICATION PROGRAM FOR STATES” is a training Programme aimed at improving the capacity of States to document, promote and facilitate new private investments that will support economic diversification and job creation. It is a program that certifies a state as an investment ready state and also signpost investors to those states best prepared to support them.

3. What, in your view, are the main challenges in the mining sector in Nigeria right now?
In my point of view, the main challenges in the Mining Sector in Nigeria are:

• Infrastructural difficulties
• Inadequate finance
• Deficiency of accurate geological data
• Deficiency of well-equipped laboratories
• High risk for the health of the employees
• Inadequate regulation
• Existence of illegal mining companies

4. What in your view are the main opportunities currently?
Conducting Preparatory Feasibility Studies will go a long way to showcase major opportunities in the mining sector of the Country.

Data obtained from the Federal Government revealed that Nigeria currently has over 44 known types of minerals of varying mixes and proven quantities, some of which are concentrated in certain states. Strategic minerals of the future like Nickel, Cobalt, Lithium, Graphite, Copper and Rare Earth Elements hidden beneath Africa and Nigeria’s lands can be unearthed, exploited and brought to the market through a concise mineral policy that promotes transparency and sustainable mining.

The huge deposit of Iron Ore in Kogi State can also be exploited.

5. What is your vision for this sector?
The mining sector is dominated by joint venture operations between the Nigerian government and six major international oil companies, namely Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Agip, Elf and Texaco. The federal government is currently looking to attract investment into the sector to promote growth. The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission N117 Act 16 of 1995 allows for 100% foreign ownership of mining operations and related enterprises.

Nigeria’s solid mineral resources include tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, gold, talc, rock salt, gypsum, bitumen, gemstones, kaolin, tantalite and columbite. In recent years the British Geological Survey discovered several significant uranium deposits in a handful of states.

The mining of solid minerals in Nigeria accounts for less than 1% of GDP (2010), since oil and gas dominate the nation’s extractive industry. It is my hope that mining of solid minerals should account for between 10 to 15% of the GDP by 2023.

6. How important is Nigeria Mining Week as a meeting place for the sector? 
Extremely important. Mined materials are needed to construct roads and hospitals, to build automobiles and houses, to make computers and satellites, to generate electricity, and to provide the many other goods and services that consumers enjoy. In addition, mining is economically important to producing regions and countries. Nigeria needs to leverage on its wealth of mineral resource to create jobs and wealth and this is what the Nigeria Mining Week seeks to achieve.