By Bankole Shakirudeen Adeshina
ACTING Director-General of the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA), Hajia Rabi Sodangi, has disclosed that bilateral talks between her agency and some reputable foreign investors on mining exploration and infrastructure financing in Nigeria have reached advanced stage.
According to her, by the time the talks are concluded by the second quarter of 2018, her agency, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, would have successfully landed multi-million-dollar Foreign Direct Investments in the country.
This FDI, she said, would equally trigger creation of more employment opportunities for jobless Nigerians, rejuvenate the sector’s moribund infrastructures and boost its current paltry contribution to the nation’s GDP.
Speaking exclusively with CITY VOICE, Sodangi, who just returned from a two-week international mining conference in London, United Kingdom, noted that the highpoint of the parley were, among others, the opportunity to further showcase Nigeria’s untapped mining sector and the government’s irresistible regulatory frameworks to the foreign investors.
In attendance with Sodangi at the conference which started on November 18 and ended on December 3, were the Minister of Mines and Steel, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Director General, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, Alex Nwagbu and Mrs Bola Akinwande, Director of Geology Economics at NGSA.
There were other Nigerian delegates under the auspices of the Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIRENCO) of the Federal Government while other African countries in attendance include Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa.
The NSRMEA boss stressed that so far, the prospective investors who are in talks with her agency are: Moral Fame International and China Mining Intercontinental; Marlink Technical Services, a company based in Lysakar, Norway; and the Women In Mining (WIM), a UK-based advocacy group, fighting for gender equality in leadership in international mining bodies.
According to her, “apart from the main conference, I also attended some private meetings with the Bauchi State Government officials, where we concluded on possible partnership between the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency and the Bauchi State Government on sustainable development of Bauchi State mineral resources and especially on exploration of those mineral resources.
“In the like manner, we had earlier started discussing the possibility of funding bauxite exploration with two Chinese firms –Moral Fame International and China Mining Intercontinental Mineral Development Company Ltd and the representative of Marlink Technical Services, a company based in Lysakar, Norway with offices in twelve other countries. They offer extensive communication solutions for mining operations, reliable connectivity between field operations and offices such as real-time topographic survey reports, assets and personnel tracking, drilling operations etc.
“I also had a meeting with Women in Mining (WIM) in the UK. , where we discussed studies by WIM on “Women on Board in the Mining Industry (2012 to 2014)” and “The Global Gender Gap report 2015.” The reports noted that the gender gap is not just a gender issue, it’s a business issue. And we all agreed that women advancement and leadership are central to business performance, economic prosperity, profitability, return on investment and innovation.
Sodangi, a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management, explained that the benefits derived from attending International Mining Conferences such as the China mining conference and the mines and money in the UK were numerous and strategic to enhancing her technical knowledge and leadership capacity to help the country drive a prosperous mining agency.
According to her, discussions at the conference centered on how best to resolve ensuing conflict between host community and exploration agencies; ensure accuracy in risk forecasting; innovative financing for mining infrastructure; complexities associated with contract negotiations and profitability for investors; and the usage of innovation to drive a robust mining-induced economic prosperity for Africa, through digitalization of exploration, advancement in technological infrastructure, operational efficiency and robust dialogue with host community.
She said “I was also among the Honourable Minister’s entourage to the British Geological Survey (BGS) where he received some legacy geological records.
“We got to know that BGS is not just about geosciences data for mining or solid minerals development. It also offers authoritative information and knowledge to help the society, both private and public sectors, national and international on the accurate forecasting, early signs and or prevention against Climate disasters like Earthquake; Flooding; Landslides; Minerals; Shale gas; Space weather among others.
“Bear in mind that these skills are so important to us in our quest to transform our mining and steel sector. This is so because in the past, Nigeria neglected the solid minerals or mining sector for a long time due to the discovery of oil. Meanwhile other nations continued to move forward. We are just getting exposed to new and more advanced technology. And the facts that we still have funding problem although the current administration has demonstrated serious commitment to develop the sector,” she added.