|Mr Musa Sada|
THE Federal Government said on Sunday that 60 foreign and 4,000 local companies were participating in the country’s mineral exploration.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Musa Sada, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the firms had been registered to explore and exploit the minerals.
Sada said that the investors were attracted to the sector because of the country’s rich mineral resources.
He said the companies were carrying out exploration on various minerals, including gold, iron ore, lead, zinc ore, coal, gypsum, barytes, kaolin, tin, cassiterite, clay, manganese and gemstones.
The minister said the companies had acquired mining titles and were at various sites doing exploration and reconnaissance activities.
He added that some of them had extracted samples and sent them to their countries of origin or relevant laboratories for analysis.
Sada said the participation of the companies in the sector would generate employment, create wealth and improve capacity utilisation of manufacturing companies, while increasing the revenue base and promoting import substitution.
However, the minister explained that exploration had no returns on investment, adding that it was just about data gathering to enable investors take plausible mining decisions.
He said there was the need for the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) to educate foreign investors on the exploration and mining aspects to enable them to understand the sector better.
Sada said that investors ought to be aware of when returns on investments would like to start coming and the kind of requirements they should fulfil before investing in mining.
He noted that there were instances where investors invested in mining but could not succeed because of a lack of proper information
``It is not as if the minerals are there for investors to buy and sell.
``You have to do a lot of work on the minerals. Like I keep telling people, mining is a marathon and not a 100 metre dash,’’ he said.
Sada said that mining required a lot of efforts, adding that mining had long-lasting returns on investments and satisfaction once one was able to strike rich deposits.
He added that some of the richest entrepreneurs in the world were those involved in mining business.
``If you look at a large percentage of high-class people in the world, they are those involved in mining. If you look at the history of their businesses it might not even start with them.
``The richest woman in the world owns iron mines in Australia which she inherited from her grandfather,’’ he said.
Sada said that the ministry had established a mineral and metal centre to attract investors and to enable them to have access to the right information about the solid minerals sector.
He said the centre would enable investors to have direct contact with the ministry when seeking assistance and information concerning the sector.
``Having gone round to some conferences and investment promotion gatherings, we realised that sometimes it’s a bit difficult for investors to get the right information about the sector in the country,’’ he said.
The minister said that the centre was well equipped and staffed with experts like geologists, mining engineers, mineral processors and those with a good background in the business.
He said the experts would facilitate accompanying investors to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), NIPC, Ministry of Interior and other establishments to facilitate their documentation.
``The centre is facilitating investment processes in mining. For instance, it can e-mail geological information or data to any individual or agency making request for it from any part of the world,’’ he said.