In a ssignificant development on the sidelines of the Mines & Money conference in London, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake and United States Assistant Secretary for Energy and Natural Resources, Geoffrey Pratt, have initiated talks to explore funding opportunities for mining projects and infrastructure in Nigeria.
Pratt, expressing the United States’ interest in being Nigeria’s preferred partner in developing the solid minerals sector, conveyed that the US admired the reforms proposed by Alake during his plenary address at the conference. He mentioned plans to assemble a joint team of officials from both countries to investigate financing options, including credit for mining firms and related infrastructure.
The US assistant secretary for energy and natural resources shared that his visit to Alake was a follow-up to a previous meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, during which the US sought to support Nigeria’s economic revitalisation. Pratt affirmed the United States’ commitment to exploring collaboration with Nigerian agencies and institutions.
In response, Alake expressed gratitude for the gesture, describing it as “music to his ears”. He outlined the ministry’s seven-point agenda, emphasising key initiatives such as the establishment of the new Solid Minerals Development Company, enhanced security measures for mining operations and extensive data generation to mitigate risks in the sector.
Alake underscored the significance of the credit facility and foreign direct investment pledged by the United States, highlighting the mutual benefits for both countries. He pointed out the critical role of energy minerals like lithium in the global push for clean energy and their necessity in the production of electric cars.
During the meeting, Hajiya Fatima Shinkafi, the executive secretary of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Fund, commended the US for its investments in mining infrastructures in Central Africa. She encouraged a similar partnership with the Fund, emphasising the potential for collaborative initiatives in the Nigerian mining sector.