“Two years ago MRI took the strategic decision to start operations in Nigeria and with the first forum of its kind in Nigeria, we couldn’t afford not to be a part of it.”

Exclusive interview with Hadley Natus, Trader/Business development at MRI Trading, silver sponsors at the upcoming iPAD Nigeria.

1. Please give us some background and history of your company?
The MRI Group was formed in 1996 with the incorporation of Marc Rich & Co Investment AG (“MRCI”), Zug, Switzerland as an international trading house focussing on energy and non-ferrous commodities. In 2002, the management team successfully completed a Management-Buy-Out (“MBO”), acquiring MRCI from founding shareholder Marc Rich. Following the MBO, as part of the restructuring process to simplify the corporate structure, various entities were merged with MRCI which was renamed as MRI Trading AG, Zug (“MRI”) in 2010. In June 2011, CWT Ltd (www.cwtlimited.com) acquired a majority stake in the MRI Group.

Today, the MRI Group is the world’s 3rd largest independent trader of non-ferrous concentrates and is expanding into other bulk minerals with 2.1 million tons traded in 2014. The Group employs over 150 staff, has offices in 11 countries and is present in over 20 countries including agents spread across Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.

2. How would you describe your role in the mining industry?
The Group is focused on physical arbitrage trading of commodities where opportunities are realised through its access to an extensive network of producers and end-users and proven ability to effectively operate local and international logistics chains and manage price risks. Through our experience and ability to compliment mining operations from the minesite to the end user, as well as a partner through project development with financial support and technical support, we are the partners to mines around the world and service end receivers by being the reliable partners they need.

3. Any specific projects in the mining industry that you are involved in that you are particularly excited about?
Internationally, there are a various but in Nigeria we are working closely with a few counterparts but will refrain from making any public comments about these for now. What I can say is that a few companies are putting themselves in a good position to take advantage of the future growth of this industry in Nigeria. When international markets recover, and in time surely will, we can see them being the mavericks in the Nigerian Mining industry.

4. What do you see as the main challenges in the industry?
Apart from the lack of suitable funding solutions, we see three areas that need to be on the forefront of the new Ministers to-do-list to invigorate the industry and attract investment:

1. Infrastructure projects to lower the cost of entry into the Nigerian mining industry for international companies. Even though better than most African countries, the government will need to look at industry specific infrastructure projects

2.  Organising and supporting the artisanal mining industry to best add value to  Nigeria’s GDP and incorporating the artisanal miners into its future plans

3. Technical knowledge pool growth

5. Why did you decide to partner with iPAD Nigeria Mining Forum?
Two years ago MRI took the strategic decision to start operations in Nigeria and with the first forum of its kind in Nigeria, we couldn’t afford not to be a part of it.

6. What will be your message at the event? 

That MRI is a good partner to those willing to take a serious look at the benefits of entering the mining industry.

7. Anything you would like to add?
It is our view that Nigeria has all the prerequisites to enjoy the benefits of building a mining industry from a low base and if managed correctly can be a major factor in increasing the standard of living for many Nigerians and help the government get away from its dependence on oil.