1) Let’s start with some background on Advocaat, the organisation’s work in the mining sector and your role at the organisation?
Advocaat Law Practice is a full service commercial law firm founded in 2008, with the vision of being the preferred legal service provider in Nigeria. Our firm comprises of 4 main practice groups namely; Energy & Infrastructure, Corporate & Commercial, Financing and Dispute Resolution. We provide legal advice to a diverse range of clientele including but not limited to: oil exploration and production companies, oil service contractors, mining companies, independent power producers, banks and other financial institutions and other high net worth clients. I am the Managing Partner and Head of the Energy & Infrastructure group at Advocaat Law Practice.
2) What projects that you are involved in in the sector are your most excited about at the moment?
We are currently providing legal advice to a lender with respect to its $12,000,000 revolving credit and term loan facility granted to suite of an indigenous mining company, for the initial expansion and continued production of a high grade lead/zinc/ silver mine located in Plateau State of Nigeria. The firm has also been mandated to advise on the restructuring of the loan transaction and the security provided by the borrower.
3) What are the main challenges to the sector in Nigeria in your view?
The main challenges in the industry are multiple. Firstly is the issue of regulation of mining titles. Whilst a mining cadastre office has been set up and there is better transparency on the issuance of mining tittles, there is still a need for the monitoring of minimum work obligations of licensees; environmental compliance and the enforcement of the “use it or lose it” principle. Secondly, the lack of adequate road and rail infrastructure is a hindrance to mining investments. We should be looking at PPP options to develop infrastructure. A third issue is funding of public mining institutions so as to be able to enforce provisions of the law and lastly access to long term funding to finance a mining project.
4) What are the opportunities?
The opportunities are numerous as there are 34 identified minerals that can both be used drastically in the construction sector and exported to earn much needed foreign exchange.
5) You were involved in last year’s inaugural iPAD Nigeria, what was the feedback?
Last year’s forum was a success. It was refreshing to see the attendance of key players in the mining industry deliberate on moving the mining sector forward. The quality of the papers presented were outstanding as well as the robust discussions which provided insight into mining stakeholders’ views on how to move the sector forward.
6) What will be your message at this year’s iPAD Nigeria?
We need to look at quick win mining projects to showcase Nigeria as a mining destination.
7) Anything you would like to add?
The forum must build on its success of last year to ensure the mining sector and the opportunities abound and remain in everyone’s consciousness.