Emotan Josephine Aburime-Shine is the Managing Director, Piramen Ventures, a professional mining company which specializes in the cutting and polishing of gemstones.
In this interview, Aburime-Shine who doubles as Managing Director, Emotan Global Ventures expresses concern that mining sector operators in Africa, as well as their nations, make alarming losses from sale of unprocessed solid minerals, stating that stakeholders must work together to address challenge of revenue losses, adding that if addressed, it will uplift the standard of living in the continent.
She spoke with Francis Kadiri at the company’s exhibition stand on Tuesday, at the ongoing 4th edition of the Nigeria Mining Week, in Abuja, Nigeria.
Your companies, Piramen Ventures and Emotan Global Ventures are showcasing their solid minerals stock at this conference. What is your area of expertise?
Basically, Piramen Ventures and Emotan Global Ventures are mining companies but they specialize in different types of solid minerals. Emotan Global Ventures Limited focuses on the metal side of the industry such as lead, gold and others while Piramen Ventures Limited focuses on the gemstone side of the mining with a lot of dealings in various types of gemstones such as sapphire, ruby, and aquamarine on its mining sites. Our project is to uncover as many gemstones as possible that are available in Nigeria.
How do you add value to raw materials?
A lot of these minerals, when they are taken in their raw state have very little value. When you sell solid minerals in their raw state, the money you get is very little. So, it is almost slave labor when you go and sell in its raw state, but the moment you add value by processing it, i.e. changing it through faceting, there is better share of the profit margin.
As such, we have a state-of-the-art lapidary where we cut the stones into desired shapes as well as polish them. Our gemstone factory is committed to producing various gemstones used for jewelry making.
Would you say Nigeria is getting the best it should get from gemstones?
No, at the moment, Nigeria and other countries in Africa get less than one percent of the value they ought to get from gemstones because they do not add value to it. So we are losing a lot of revenue as individuals and as a country.
So, we need to close that gap and change the narrative because our people are just suffering and working for free. They suffer and mine these precious minerals and then sell it at ridiculously low prices. Miners in Nigeria must find a way to address the challenge of laboring in the mine sites, and then selling the mined proceeds cheaply, because of lack of value addition. The loss is not suffered by the operators alone; it is also suffered by the African nations.
The emphasis is that the economic values of various precious stones are a lot more than Nigeria is getting from them. So, we want everybody, all stakeholders to know this reality, and to work together as a team to address the problem.
Gemstones are valuable and we can change what we earn from our efforts by refining the minerals.
In what ways will the ongoing Mining Week lead to improvement in your business?
It is amazing being part of the conference! First of all, we all get to meet each other, the big players in the industry. We interact with government and they discuss ongoing mining sector projects and policies. To be frank, an operator may not know everything that government is doing.
So the Nigeria Mining Week like this is an avenue to interact with government and to tell them our issues and problems, and to also discuss solutions. I have gathered that the federal government has put in place initiatives to address some challenges of the sector, one of which is a Fund to support miners through loans and grants.
It is commendable that government is also bringing in companies that can train. I have to commend the fact that the government of Nigeria has become more aware of the mining sector and they are rising up to the challenges and getting up to the same standard as the rest of the world.
Do you think Nigeria as a mining country has the commitment and financial muscles, like other African countries?
I think that Nigeria will always become a major player in the mining industry. I say this because before now, mining was carried out at the background, but that has changed now. People are now coming up to make the industry more visible. I think that this is the beginning of huge influx of investors to the sector.
If the world knows the value of solid minerals that Nigeria has, there will be a lot of people who will come in to invest.
A point of note is that any investment in the mining sector will boost other economic potentials of other sectors such as transportation, tourism and hospitality industries. So if we do mining right, we will also be opening the gateways to economic prosperity of other connected sectors.
You are a woman thriving in a sector regarded as tough even for men, how are you coping?
Women are tougher than men. Have you not discovered that women are the champion?
Madam, solid minerals are mined in the forest and bushes, how do you think women can cope in terms of stress?
The mining sector has different sides, so women tend to be on the side they wish to be. Some women are into selling of minerals, some are cutting and faceting gemstones and some are rendering other services along the mining sector value chain. When it comes to executing tough tasks, women are also accomplishing a lot. In fact, there are women who are accomplishing their goals in the mine sites.