Mr Begna Gebreyes, Senior Vice President: Investments, at the Africa Finance Corporation, AFC,MUSA said that Nigeria is now more open for business and is ready to make the most of its mineral wealth.
He observed that less than 0.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP comes from minerals and mining, and the upcoming Nigeria Mining Week, will help open investment opportunities in the sector.
However, he said that the country has much to offer such as coal, gold, iron ore, uranium, wolframite, columbite, tantalite and bitumen. Diversifying away from oil, which is unpredictable in pricing, and key to ensuring the country’s stability as is maximising its mineral wealth instead of importing from abroad.
Gebreyes, whose comment is coming ahead of the October conference said,”However, it goes without saying that this will not be done at any cost. Delegates must understand that Nigeria’s mineral wealth must be exploited in a way that is inclusive and sustainable, and more thought must be given to in-country beneficiation so that Nigerians are not only producing natural resources but also manufacturing finished products.”
At the upcoming Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja from 14-16 October, Mr Gebreyes is part of a panel discussion on “Understanding the needs of financial institutions and funding organizations-the financial models available to support mining projects”.
Continuing , he said, “there is a tremendous amount of opportunity in the mining sector all across Africa. Our goal is to grow our investments in mining, over the next few years, to over US$500 million. There are many exciting projects that merit investment.” According to the AFC SVP, one example of such an exciting project is the Segilola Gold Project in Nigeria with Thor Explorations.
Speaking further, he said: “we have offered the company a US$78-million financing package for its Segilola Gold Project. This funding solution includes a credit facility, a gold stream and common equity. Nigeria is known around the world as a major oil producer but much less so for its mineral resources. We are very proud to be supporting the growth of Nigeria’s fledgling mining industry.”
The fourth edition of the Nigeria Mining Week conference and exhibition is jointly organized by PwC, Spintelligent and the Mining Association of Nigeria (MAN). The event is expected to attract more than 1200 mining experts, 180+ mines and exploration companies, 40+ sponsors with more than 24 countries represented.
Leading industry suppliers AG Vision, Barron, HMD Mining and ITM are gold sponsors at the event while Kaduna State, Kian Smith Trade Co, Meridian Drilling & Exploration Services, Puduna and PW Nigeria Ltd have partnered as silver sponsors.