The minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Dele Alake, has assured foreign investors in Nigeria’s solid minerals exploration that the country’s laws permit them to take their profits out of the country.
Alake, who gave this assurance at the just concluded 21st Africa Down Under conference in Perth, Australia, assured investors of a conducive environment to operate in Nigeria.
LEADERSHIP reports that the assurance may not be unconnected to the trade dispute in the aviation industry over funds repatriation that led to the UAE banning flight operations to and from Nigeria some months ago.
According to a statement by Alaba Balogun, deputy director of information, Ministry of Solid Minerals, Nigeria’s mining roadmap was the investors’ toast as they reportedly besieged the exhibition booth of the Ministry of Solid Minerals at the Pan Pacific Hotel venue of the event following the announcement of enticing package of incentives by the minister of solid minerals at the fourth session of the event.
While presenting a strong case for investment in the country’s mining industry, Alake told the investors about plans to set up the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation as the interface between the global mining industry and Nigeria.
He said a major plan to show the government’s readiness to assist investors is the massive investment into geoscience investigation of the country’s minerals, their grade and quantum to enable investors project with greater certainty the costs of their investments and the profits they can make.
Alake said that following the prospect of the extensive occurrence of lithium in Nigeria, the battery minerals making waves in the automobile industries, progress made by investors such as Basin Limited in their Jupiter Project, mining lithium in the North, and Lithium King investments in the South West confirm reports of Nigeria as the most profitable destination for the precious mineral.
The minister assured investors of safety, reiterating that the government had given illegal miners 30 days to join co-operatives in addition to plans to deploy a surveillance task force and mine police to combat criminals at the mines.
“Nigeria is open for business and with our ongoing reforms in the solid minerals sector I can assure every investor that comes to our country of a conducive operating environment and good returns on their investments,” the minister said.
In a related development, the minister also expressed its readiness to collaborate with governors towards harnessing mineral resources from their domains in order for Nigeria to achieve maximum socio-economic development.
Alake stated this when the governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja.
In a statement made available to journalists yesterday in Abuja by Alaba Balogun, deputy director of information at the ministry y, Mr Alake said that the ministry is determined and committed towards harnessing the nation’s mineral resources.
He noted that Nasarawa State and other solid minerals-endowed states across the country will soon witness rapid development that will enhance the living conditions of the citizenry under the renewed hope agenda of the present administration.
“Nasarawa State is very significant in terms of the development of the minerals sector …and we are putting the mechanisms together. We are crossing the Ts and dotting the I’s to make sure that the nation derives maximum benefits from this God-given gift of minerals that are in abundance in Nigeria.’’
‘’We are going to harness and utilize efficiently, effectively and proficiently to ensure that Nigeria really expends the resources judiciously from solid minerals. That is the next petroleum of Nigeria,’’ Alake said, adding that Nasarawa State would be very important in transforming solid minerals to the country’s new resource base.
According to him, it is imperative for the ministry to cooperate, synergize and coordinate all the dynamics surrounding mineral exploration, exploitation and judicious spending of the resources.
Alake described the visit of the Nasarawa governor as epitomising the synergy expected between the federal and state governments to develop the critical solid mineral sector.
On his part, Governor Sule expressed gladness that Alake is overseeing a ministry that means much to Nasarawa State, describing it as win-win situation for the nation
Meanwhile, backing Alake’s claim in their presentations on the Jupiter project, Dr. Stevens Davies and partner, Hugh Morgan of Basin Limited, disclosed that lithium deposits in several parts of Nigeria occur close to the surface requiring mainly quarrying for excavation.
They said their company is working on a nickel project that has shown good prospects in Nigeria.
In their response, the investors welcomed the idea of the proposed Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation as a step in the right direction.
A mining investor, Mr. David Gardner, based in the United Kingdom and Ghana, told the minister in a meeting after the session how the roadmap had re-ignited his interest to invest.