NIGACHEM INTERVIEW: “Mining will be key to sustain us as the Nigerian nation going forward”
Exclusive interview with Engr. Muibi A. Yusuf, Executive Director (Sales) at NIGACHEM NIGERIA Ltd, a returning gold sponsor for the CEO Forum at Nigeria Mining Week’s Digital Event from 16-20 October 2020.
Tell us about Nigachem, there is a proud history there.
NIGACHEM NIGERIA LIMITED was incorporated as a private company in 1987 to carry out the business of explosives importation for marketing and sales to civil engineering companies for the construction of dams and bridges and sometimes also for marine operations as well as on oil and gas exploration, we call it seismic activity.
By and large, we are also selling products that go along with it, mostly ammonium nitrate that we import from Europe and Asia. As we moved along the line, we got involved and went into partnership with Solar Industries India Limited in 2008.
This union actually translated for Nigachem to evolve into a manufacturing concern. We have an emulsion explosive plant in Ogun State and we manufacture onsite emulsion based explosives. Our line of explosives is branded SUPERPOWER. This is our flagship product.
The interesting part of our brand of explosive emulsion is the safety aspect. The fact that, unlike any typical NG-based explosive, it does not detonate without the adequate, appropriate stimulus. That is the initiator, we call it the detonator or the detonating chord.
At Nigachem we are very, very professional in the way we do our business by the way of our follow-up and customer service. We develop along with our customers and our level of compliance with all the regulatory authorities, we are known for that.
Of course, another key factor is that our level of corporate social responsibility towards our host community is second to none. We are always involved in the development activities around our host community and actually we make sure that the community is well protected according to the requirements so that nobody moves around carelessly around our factory. We are well known, all across the industry.
How has COVID-19 affected Nigachem’s operations?
In fact, when the pandemic and the lockdown came at the end of March, early April, throughout the month of April all our customers literally shut down their operations and that accounted for about a 35% loss of our business.
However, because we have crucial customers, particularly in the cement industry, you cannot afford to shut down completely, unless there is a war. So we were able to get special authorization to move and make sure that our bulk emulsion explosive came into very active usefulness. And we were able to deploy our MMU (mobile manufacturing unit), what we call our matrix, which is non-explosive, to the sites and we were able to keep our operations going.
What lessons did the company learn from the pandemic?
I think some crucial lessons were learnt. Essentially the fact that most of our engineers had to operate from home and we have to revert to the deployment of technology and virtual contact to communicate with our customers through Zoom meetings etc. so that there was less physical contact.
What is your message to prospective investors in Nigeria?
Well, I think there is an attraction to Nigeria now, currently. We all know that Nigeria has a lot of mining potential with all kinds of occurrences of minerals, actually in all the States of the Federation, including industrial minerals, precious minerals, gemstone and so forth. And essentially, the area of energy using coal and iron and steel as well as the gold mining potential, these are all ready. Seriously, we have some interesting people coming to invest.
Of course, your activity as Nigeria Mining Week has actually promoted a lot of sensitization amongst the international community and we at Nigachem strongly share that message, because that is the way of promoting our prospect of doing business. The activity of your organisation is fantastic and we at Nigachem are very happy and proud to actually partner with you.
Why does Nigachem partner with Nigeria Mining Week?
Globally it is the availability of explosives that really drives mining, because no mining can be done without the deployment of explosives. And we are manufacturers of explosives and we have a team of mining engineers that is always available to assist with mining development. Being part of Nigeria Mining Week is beneficial to us and of course, we have the responsibility to promote your activities too.
You are gold sponsors for the CEO Forum at Nigeria Mining Week this year, what will be your message at the event?
The message will be that I encourage those who have been partnering with you to sustain the partnership. We at Nigachem are going to sustain the partnership. And actually, our message to the international community is that: “Better come to Nigeria”. The Nigerian Government is making a genuine effort to actually deal with the current threat of insecurity. Efforts are being made, apart from the fact that as a nation we cannot continue to rely on just one source of foreign income, which is petroleum, which is globally being threatened. So, mining is in fact going to be the key to sustain us as a nation.