Diezani Alison-
Madueke, Nigerian
minister of mines
and steel
 
Abuja, Nigeria — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 October 2009 – The Federal Government of Nigeria will soon start granting a backlog of new mining licences, and is scheduled to complete a review of existing licences aimed at weeding out speculators by the end of October.

Making this announcement in a keynote speech to delegates at the London Stock Exchange, minister of mines and steel Diezani Alison-Madueke said the review was expected to open up new areas for qualified mining companies, once titles were cancelled for those who did not submit documents showing that they had the technical and financial ability to develop mines in Nigeria.

In her briefing on concessional rights for 34 solid minerals and opportunities in the Nigerian mining sector, the minister urged foreign investors to take advantage of the country’s virgin mining sector.

“Nigeria’s mineral endowment remains relatively untapped, and we consider our mineral sector to be virgin territory at this time,” she said. “Virgin territory of course has its pros and its cons, and I think that those who take the risk take a very calculated risk, and that it gives them very strong first-mover advantages in the market.”

In her presentation, the minister drew attention to the reforms brought in under the Minerals and Mining Act, aimed at strategically reforming the sector and increasing its appeal to foreign investors. “Until now the sector was actually very rife with speculative interest “’ people holding licences and titles without actual intent to develop them,” she said.

“I think that the review is actually very good news for all those who are true operators and not just speculative prospectors. It means that serious operators have more areas and more blocks open to them,” she added. “I should also add that all issues involved with the re-validation exercise should be completed by the end of October, the minister concluded.

Nigeria has proven reserves of 639-million tonnes of coal and total resources of 2.7-billion tonnes. The country “’ Africa’s most populous “’ is also estimated to have three-billion tonnes of iron-ore.