The solid minerals sector had been targeted by the previous administration to contribute 5% to the GDP by 2015 and 10% to GDP by 2020, but present contribution of the solid minerals sector to GDP averages only about 0.46%.
To reverse the trend and initiate an appreciable and sustainable growth in the sector, the current administration has embarked on efforts to diversify the economy through some of the country’s abundant mineral resources.
Consequently, the government looked to some of the world’s mining nations and China was a key focus in enhancing Nigeria’s capacity to become not only a mineral rich country, but a mining nation.
At different fora within and outside the country, minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, had urged other mining countries including China to take advantage of the abundant mineral deposits in Nigeria and the enabling environment being created by the Muhammadu Buhari administration to invest in the country’s mining sector. Interestingly, the response has been encouraging.
Recently in Beijing, China, both countries signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) on geosciences (a critical but lacking factor in Nigeria’s solid minerals sector) co-operation during the Nigeria-China Mining Investment Roadshow.
The MoUs provide for co-operation between the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) and the China Geological Survey (CGS) as well as between NGSA and the Shandong Provincial Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources of China.
The director general, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, Mr. Alex Nwegbu, signed the MoU on behalf of the government of Nigeria while the vice president, China Geological Survey, Mr. Wang Xiaolie, signed for the People’s Republic of China and witnessed by the minister of state for Mines and Steel Development, Honourable Abubakar Bawa Bwari and the vice minister of Land and Resources of China, Mr. Cao Weixing.
The MoU between NGSA and CGS centres around such areas as research and development of basic geology, geological maps compilation and regional mineralisation correlation, conduct of regional, national and geochemical mapping of Nigeria on various scales; aero – geophysical survey mineral resources and energy raw material exploration joint programme in marine geology, geoscience research and monitoring of geo-hazards, hydro and environmental geological surveys.
According to the Nigerian minister of state for Mines and Steel Development, and leader of the Nigerian delegation to the Nigeria-China Mining Investment Roadshow, Honourable Abubakar Bawa Bwari, the signing of the MoU came four years after the broader MoU on mining co-operation was signed in 2012.
The minister said Nigeria has a rich geology outlay of mineral resources and China’s unprecedented demand for mineral raw materials for its industries positions Nigeria as a sure destination because of its highly underexplored and underexploited mineral resources.
He said the implementation of the MoUs would lead to improved geo-sciences data generation and greater investor confidence in the mining sector.
He assured Chinese investors of Nigeria’s readiness to provide enabling environment, predictable policy, legal and regulatory framework and security for prospective investors.
The vice minister of Land and Resources of China, Cao Weixing, in his speech said the Nigeria-China Mining Investment Roadshow was another opportunity for both countries to build friendships, expand exchanges and promote win-win co-operation in the mining sector for mutual benefits. He said mining co-operation was a priority in China’s co-operation with Nigeria stating that in April 2016, the presidents of Nigeria and China reaffirmed that the two countries would deepen their win-win co-operation in the mining sector for joint development.
Mr. Weixing said the two countries have a strong degree of economic complementarities with bright prospects and great potentials. According to him, the mining community in China and Nigeria must seize the opportunity to push forward businesses for joint development.
The road show which was aimed at attracting Chinese investments into the Nigerian mining sector attracted key Nigerian and Chinese government officials, companies and institutions in the solid mineral value chain.
Source: <Daily Trust>