The federal government, through the Solid Minerals Development Fund of Nigeria (SMDF), has announced a transformative partnership with the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) focused on de-risking Nigeria’s mining sector and scaling up artisanal miners in the country to an industrial level of operation.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Nigerian Mining Week in Abuja, Fatima Shinkafi, the executive secretary of the Fund noted the funding challenge in Nigeria’s mining sector, adding that operators would be expected to leverage the proposed portal for funding and investment opportunities.
She said, “We are pleased to deepen our cooperation with the AFC through collaborating on these strategic initiatives to support the Nigerian mining industry. I am incredibly grateful for the Honourable Minister’s support, which has been critical to developing these initiatives.
“These initiatives align with the Renewed Hope Agenda and the Ministry’s Transformation Agenda of leveraging the mining sector to catalyze economic growth, competitiveness, and job creation.”
For Dele Alake, the minister of solid mineral development, the partnership aligns with the plans of the federal government to halt the exportation of raw minerals from the country.
According to him, efforts were ongoing to strengthen security in the sector through the deployment of relevant technology.
He said, “The era of carting away raw materials is over in Nigeria. But that doesn’t mean it would happen in the next minutes after my announcement. There are mechanisms to put in place to check this menace. These mechanisms are not just on paper. They are practical things, measures that would include personnel, technology and all kinds of input from different agencies. Security architecture is part of it. I have spoken a lot about the renewed security architecture that we will put in place. It is going to be substantially technology-driven.
“Before we came on board, there have been efforts to inject some technology into the security system. I can say to you that some of the things I met on the ground in terms of technological input revolve around the use of drones. Even though it has not been started, the administrative steps have been taken and we need to cross the t’s and dot the I’s.
He disclosed that in furtherance to this move, the ministry is introducing new technological measures, which will be included in the 2024 budget.
Commenting on the partnership, Samaila Zubairu, President and chief executive officer (CEO) of AFC, stated, “The world needs African resources to fully transition to clean energy in the long term, and more investment is required to sustainably mine and develop in-continent processing capacity for commodities that are critical to the energy transition.
“This collaboration signifies our commitment to unlock the vast potential of Nigeria’s mineral resources by leveraging the wealth of our renewable energy sources for local processing, thus fostering sustainable development and economic prosperity in Nigeria and Africa.”