During the 1970s Nigeria had a prosperous, export-orientated mining industry. Before the discovery of oil, the West African nation had developed strong production operations for coal, tin and columbite. The discovery of hydrocarbons eclipsed these activities and relegated mining to an economic footnote. However, with the recent decline in the global price of oil and reductions in production due to violence in the oil-producing Delta states, the government in Abuja is looking to revive the country’s mining sector. The government is becoming aware of the latent prospects of the industry and, as such, is putting in place a strong regulatory and taxation environment that should reassure investors about the security and potential of their capital in Nigeria. Nevertheless, given the paucity of mineral data and the high capital requirements of exploration in this nascent market, foreign entrance into the sector is likely to come from acquisitions and partnerships in the short to medium term.
This chapter contains an interview with Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development.