By Oluwaseun Sonde, Abuja.
The Director-General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba said the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP), is government’s rapid response to the dearth of investible geoscience data in which its exploration exercise is expected to generate targets that will attract investment in the country and generate employment along the mineral value chain.
He made it known at the pre-conference section of the 4th annual Nigeria mining week held on Monday at NAF conference in Abuja.
According to him ” NIMEP is the first of its kind and it is envisaged that the exploration exercise is expected to generate targets that will attract investment into the sector, or the commodities considered which has the potentials of making positive impacts on the economy in the areas of employment generation along the mineral value chain, contributions to foreign exchange earnings through export and contributions to local earnings through value addition”.
He added that NIMEP project is seeking to reduce the risk element along the identified mineral corridors and attract investment. “Mining business is a high-risk business, exploration activities are essentially carried out to reduce the risk borne by the investing entities.
“The preliminary project activities have been presented in a few mining conferences and the reception so far was great! The reception was like Nigeria seems to be getting it right now. Naturally by removing the barriers to an object makes the object more accessible.
“It is envisaged that there will be a spike in the number of companies investing in the Nigerian Mining sector. Several companies have shown interest at these preliminary presentations and more are coming”, he said.
Furthermore, he said exploration data is quite expensive to generate and requires time while quantum and pattern of funding through budgetary allocations cannot generate the kind of integrated data required for investment.
“Thus, this prompted the idea for the utilization of Natural Resources Funds to rapidly generate investible dataset and de-risk the sector. We must give credit to our professionals who provided the baseline dataset which enabled the ease with which the current exploration efforts are going on.
“The prospects for the sector are bright. We are basically looking at a scenario where potential targets are identified with empirical data along with the mineral belts.
“Few of these are to be investigated in detail to generate convincing investible data. These data are meant to assure investors on the viability of the prospects and the viability of the identified mineral belt or corridor”, he said.
Garba recommended the attendance of all stakeholders with aims of attracting mining investment, providing a platform to interact and discuss issues relating but not limited to the availability of credible geoscience data, mineral processing, fiscal,policy regime, and investment funding.
“It also allows for networking between the juniors and majors on investment portfolios available within the sector which ultimately make Nigeria an irresistible destination for global mining capital”.