The endorsement is for the implementation of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the fields of geology, mining, mineral processing and metallurgy.
At a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria in December, the ministers agreed on a plan – to be implemented from January 2017 – that will focus on the following areas:
- advancement of geo-scientific knowledge generation;
- contribution to energy security;
- contribution to agriculture and food security;
- the regulatory framework;
- mineral processing and value addition; as well as
- institutional capacity.
This follows a commitment made by the ministers during the South African state visit to Nigeria earlier in 2016, where Presidents Jacob Zuma and Muhammad Buhari prioritised agriculture, energy and mining for the economic development of the two countries.
The ministers then agreed to implement the MoU, which had been signed in 2013 but had not been ratified afterwards.
“With the implementation of this action plan, we will be able to better advance and ensure benefits to both countries from the development of our respective mining value chains, in line with our respective national priority programmes; which include diversification of the economy, job creation, energy security and industrialisation,” Minister Zwane said.
The MoU outlines up to 10 areas of co-operation, including geology; regulatory framework and licensing; mineral processing; metallurgy; artisanal and small scale mining; investment promotion; and capacity building.
The ministers also agreed to jointly host a mining investment promotion conference in Nigeria during the second half of 2017.