Plans are underway to float a $600 million investment fund for the solid minerals sector, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi has said.
Speaking yesterday at the 2017 Ministerial Press Briefing in Abuja, Fayemi said the ministry is working with entities such as the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and others to conclude the process.
Fayemi said there is significant improvement in the funding for the minisng sectors both from government and the international financiers. “In 2017, a new board for the Nigerian Solid Minerals Development Fund was inaugurated, and a competent management in place.
In collaboration with the Bank of Industry (BOI), the SMDF has launched a N5Billion fund to provide single digit interest loans to mining projects in Nigeria. Also, we have partially accessed the N30 Billion approved for the sector from the Natural Resources Intervention Fund for the promotion of the exploration of new minerals and to strengthen the regulatory capacity of the Ministry.”
He informed the stakeholders that one of the key projects they are embarking upon in 2017, in partnership with some state governments and the private sector is a Gold Purchase scheme.
“The mandate of the scheme will include equipping of the artisanal miners; provision of extension services; and the off-take of all the gold produced by the participants in the scheme. The aim is to facilitate employment creation, poverty reduction, and increase in revenue to the federation’s account.”
On the institutional reforms the minister said, “The ministry has extensively reorganized the Mining Inspectorate (MID); and Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASM) departments and set up an Investment Promotion and Mineral Trade department (IPMT). A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would be licensed by government to manage the gold purchase scheme.
He said the Nigerian Mining industry holds a promise. “We expect to sustain the growth trajectory we have achieved by stimulating new exploration activities, increased production from active mining, functional (and expanded) processing and refining capacity, and higher value-addition in exports. The net outcome will be the creation of thousands of direct jobs and potentially hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs.”