Mineral exploration could revive Nigeria
In their drive to diversify the economy away from oil, the Nigerian government has turned their attention to the mining industry.
Before the onset of Covid-19, it was, to the surprise of many, reasonably easy to undertake an exploration project in the country. The Federal Government of Nigeria is of the opinion that exploration and junior mining companies would soon discover the country’s enormous geological potential.
Nigeria’s mining industry has been given a clean canvas. The country is an ideal destination for intrepid exploration companies with a large appetite for risk. But a word of warning – the only way to do business in Nigeria is to partner with a local Nigerian who is well connected. Nigeria is a potential regulatory minefield, and without local knowledge, it is almost impossible to negotiate your way around its challenges.
WhyAfrica recently spoke to Riaan van der Westhuizen, Managing Director of Nigerian registered company Minutor Mining and Exploration Services, and Bronze Sponsor of Nigeria Mining Week. Minutor, based in the Nigeria capital Abuja, is drilling at more than one site in a few different provinces, mainly for gold and copper, and the results are encouraging.
When Van der Westhuizen arrived in Nigeria a few years ago, mining infrastructure did not exist. There were no testing laboratories, no mining equipment and hardly any mining skills. For a country that has been focused only on the oil sector for many years, mining was a strange concept. That has changed though, and Van der Westhuizen and his crew have a lot to do with that.
Not too long ago nobody in their right mind would have ventured into the hinterland of Nigeria. But Van der Westhuizen and a small band of South African expats decided to test the water and found the proverbial pot of gold. They have all settled in Abuja, and the company is thriving.