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Nigeria, US Forge Strategic Partnership For Mining Devt

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A cross section of stakeholders during the meeting in South Africa.

In a proactive move to enhance cooperation between Nigeria and the United States in the realm of mining development, both nations have established a working group to delineate the modalities of their partnership.

Following a meeting last week in Abuja with the United States Deputy Chief of Mission, David Greene, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake led a Nigerian government delegation in a meeting on Tuesday with a US government delegation headed by the senior advisor to the US President on energy and infrastructure, Amos Hochstein. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the ongoing ‘Investing in Africa Indaba’ in Cape Town, South Africa.

Hochstein underscored the enduring relationship between the United States and Nigeria, spanning various sectors over several decades. He expressed the US government’s keen interest in collaborating with Nigeria to catalyse investments in the mining ecosystem. This collaboration aims to encompass infrastructural development, technical assistance to enhance mining operations, and investments in the mining industry.

Hochstein articulated the US approach: “Let’s figure out a way between us where we can share whatever you have with our team, then we can work with companies to see what makes sense for the United States to do”. He emphasised the importance of addressing infrastructural needs to make investments more attractive and highlighted ongoing collaboration with the Nigerian government on financing clean energy options.

In response, Alake commended the US interest in the mining sector, emphasising that a strengthened collaboration in mining development would not only fortify bilateral relations but also result in mutual benefits for both countries. He conveyed ongoing reforms in Nigeria’s mining sector to create an enabling environment, distinguishing it from past experiences. The Minister proposed the formation of a small joint working group to expedite collaboration and facilitate the swift flow of information between the two sides.

Regarding financing, the executive secretary of the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF), Fatima Shinkafi shared insights into the fund’s resources. She highlighted the partnership between SMDF and the African Finance Corporation (AFC) to deploy additional resources for generating geo-scientific data. This data aims to assist investors in making well-informed decisions, contributing to the overall development of critical minerals.

Shinkafi emphasised that through the SMDF, Nigeria has resources to co-invest, ensuring a collaborative approach rather than a one-sided solicitation of funds.

Both nations subsequently nominated members to form the working group, signalling the commencement of substantive deliberations.

The US delegation, led by Amos Hochstein, included acting special coordinator for partnership for global infrastructure investments, Helaina Matza; Regional managing director of Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Ribhuti Jain; Deputy CEO of DFC, Nisha Biswal; Chief of staff to Amos Hochestein, Lyndsey Mewill among others.

The Nigerian delegation included the director-general of Mining Cadastral Office (MCO), Obadiah Nkom; Executive secretary of SMDF, Fatima Shinkafi; DG of Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr. Abdulrasak Garba; Director of investments promotion and mineral trade (IPMT), Ime Ekrikpo and other high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development (MSMD).

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