…as NGSA pledges dataset support, technical expertise
A leading Canadian mineral exploration company, Orosur Mining, has pledged to invest $5m in exploration of Nigeria’s vast lithium deposits just as the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) assures that it will support the venture with credible geosciences information on lithium deposits in the country.
Executive Chairman, Orosur Mining, Mr. Louis Castro who made the disclosure at a recent meeting with Nigeria’s Minister of Solid Mineral Resources, Dr. Dele Alake and the Director-General of the NGSA, Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba, expressed confidence in the investor-friendly regulatory regime in the country’s mining sector.
Castro is optimistic that the first tranche of investment will lead the way for many more investments in Nigeria’s highly lucrative solid minerals sector, especially that the country has come to be known for its enormous lithium mineralization.
Addressing the Minister, Castro stated: ‘I have the honor to announce to you that as a continuation of the company’s strategy of securing high quality mineral exploration opportunities in key jurisdictions worldwide, Orosur Mining has signed a Joint Venture agreement to explore a number exploration licenses across Nigeria which the company considers to be highly prospective for lithium mineralization.’
The Executive Chairman therefore solicited support for the company’s investment decision in favour of the Nigerian mining sector.
Director-General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba explained that the Agency was established to provide mineral information on Nigeria, adding that it will furnish Orosur’s investment decision with ample geosciences information on lithium mineralization across the country.
The Director-General said that in addition to availing Orosur the relevant geosciences information on Lithium in Nigeria, the NGSA will also deploy its globally recognized technical expertise to maximize the investment outcomes for Orosur.
Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba, a Fellow of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) who is also President of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists (NSEG), further informed the Executive Chairman of Orosur that the past few years have been particularly eventful for the country’s mineral exploration Agency, stating that ‘in line with its mandate of mineral exploration, the NGSA has been able to generate reliable data sets on the country’s lithium resources as well as information on other minerals in Nigeria.’
On his part, the Director-General, Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, Engr. Obadiah Simon Nkom welcomed Orasur Mining to Nigeria. He said the mineral licensing Agency has made it easy for Orasur to apply, adding that application can be made and processed via the electronic mining cadastre (eMC+) platform of the Agency.
As part of ongoing reforms to reposition the Nigerian mining sector, the Federal Government welcomes investments in mineral exploration as part of policies that will facilitate the realization of the administration’s “Big Data Quest” needed to actuate the Renewed Hope Agenda of government in the mining sector.
The Minister earlier stated that government has prioritized the realization of ‘Big Data on specific seven priority minerals (lithium inclusive) and their deposits,’ and assured of creating genial investment climate to investors.
It could be recalled that the Federal Government of Nigeria recently championed the cause of mineral exploration by directly investing in it through the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) of the Federal Government, a project that was supervised by the NGSA, and popularly adjudged as ‘very successful.’
Reports of the JORC-compliant NIMEP project continues to avail prospective investors with reliable datasets on mineral deposits in Nigeria.
As part of policy measures to strengthen ease of doing mining business in the country, as well as encourage Foreign Direct investment, the Federal Government of Nigeria guaranteed incentives for mining investors.
The mining sector in Nigeria enjoys Pioneer Status with attendant tax holiday to all companies operating in the sector. A comprehensive package of incentives has been put in place to create a favorable environment for investment in the solid minerals and mining sector, some of which are deferred royalty payments, capital allowances of up to 95% of qualifying capital expenditure and exemption from customs and import duties for plant, machinery and equipment for mining operations.
Mining investors also enjoy three (3) to five (5) years tax holiday as applicable and tax concessions.
There is also low corporate tax rate of between 20% and 30% and possible capitalization of expenditure on exploration and surveys.
In addition to expatriate quota and resident permits in respect of expatriate personnel engaged by mining companies, the government of Nigeria also guarantees personal remittance quota for expatriate personnel, free from any tax imposed by any enactment for the transfer of external currency out of Nigeria.
It is pertinent to note that the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act allows 100% ownership of companies by foreigners, while the Foreign Exchange Miscellaneous Act guarantees 100% repatriation of capital, profit, and dividends through authorized means.