Stakeholders in the mining sector, primarily from the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria yesterday in Abuja, said the nation will witness significant increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if efforts being made to address challenges in the mining sector are sustained.
Speaking at the third edition of the Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja, PWC’s Country Senior Partner, Uyi Akpata, Partner and Head of the firm’s Abuja office, Bert Odiaka, Partner, Head Consulting & Mining Leader, Cyril Azobu, the firm’s Partner, Head Corporate Finance West Market Area, Andrei Ugarov said unless government provide necessary support for artisanal miners, projected growth in the sector could remain elusive.
The experts noted that the miners would need to dilute their equity and bring in partners to make initial investments decisions since funding remained a critical challenge at the point of exploration. Akpata, represented by Odiaka restated the firm’s commitment to supporting the growth of the Nigeria mining sector in line with the country’s overall economic diversification efforts.
Akpata said: “I am happy and proud that our efforts to bring together stakeholders in this sector yielded so much result.”Azobu noted that the sector has witnessed a level of continuity of policies leadership, which were primary challenges affecting the growth of the sector.
According to him, there has been a sustainable effort to keep to the agenda to develop the industry. He said with the right trajectory and sustained interest from domestic and foreign players, desired goals would become a reality in the country.
“We have seen increase in the interest from the international community and from discussions made, there have been an increase in licenses granted to foreign investors. We have seen cases of celebrated projects that are now being recognised globally.“We have seen efforts from the government side for engagement with the private sector and other stakeholders. With the amount of collaborations and conversations we are having today, we are moving from matters that will ordinarily be called challenges to problems solving,” Azobu said.
While admitting that expected boom in the sector could take time due to the nature of the industry, he said, it was important to note that there has been sustained effort to move the industry forward.He said the expected increase would be as a result of the sustained effort on the part of private sector, influence by government enabling the environment through the right policies, the right implementation, and execution strategies to ensure the plans work.
Ugarov said the federal government must enhance the quality of information available about deposits to reduce the challenges confronting the small-scale miners.To him, since funding remains a key challenge at the state of exploration, operators must prepare to dilute their equity by bringing in partners.
“The right mechanism is equity financing and the government through the solid minerals development fund already sets up equity financing for that purpose. I think what early stage miners need are partners who understand the terrain, government provides help but that does not address all the support early stage miners need,” Ugarov said.