February 04, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has described the United States (US) as Nigeria’s longstanding ally and strategic partner for the nation’s mining sector development.
Speaking while receiving Charge d’Affairs, US Embassy, David Greene, in his office in Abuja, Mr Alake lauded the United States’ commitment for fostering cooperation with Nigeria in diverse sectors of the economy, stating that it underscores the significance of the smooth bilateral relations between both countries.
“I thank you for your visit. I met the US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Geoffrey Pyatt, on the sidelines of the Mines and Money conference in London this year, and we had a fruitful engagement. I did analyse all our issues, and fundamentally, we just want to diversify our economy from oil. Not just for our own economic survival but also to be in tune with global trends for a reduction in global warming.
“We also want to be part of the move to reduce global emissions and put our mining sector on the global map. We have critical minerals that are in commercial demand globally,” Mr Alake said.
The minister welcomed the partnership with the US on investments in the mining value chain, expanding access to technology in extracting and processing minerals and securing mining areas.
In his remarks, the US Ambassador commended the renewed interest of Nigeria in solid minerals, stressing that the sector has huge potential to rival the contribution of oil to the nation’s economy.
“Nigeria and the US have had decades of cultural ties, and cooperation in security agriculture amongst others. Your mining sector has huge potential and we are interested in collaborating to invest in extracting and processing of minerals alongside providing training and knowledge transfer to the security agencies to assist in securing your mining environment,” Mr Green asserted.
Throwing light on reforms embarked upon by the Federal Government, the minister highlighted revised Community Development Agreement (CDA) guidelines geared towards reducing friction in host communities; ongoing plans for new security architecture to secure natural resources; efforts to generate big geo-data; the formalization of artisanal miners into cooperatives amongst others.
“The mining sector provides a veritable avenue for increased trade between Nigeria and the United States, especially in the area of value addition, which implies processing of extracted minerals and setting up factories here.
“We would also require financing from multilateral institutions for our local operators. We are providing incentives for investments like tax waivers for mining equipment, a policy of full repatriation of profits to home countries amongst others,” Mr Alake emphasised.
The US diplomat assured Mr Alake that his country is exploring investment in Nigeria’s mining value chain, noting that the global energy transition from fossil fuels to critical metals makes it imperative for both countries to harness areas of comparative advantage for strategic collaboration.