India Mining companies’ eye Nigeria, others for strategic mineral assets

by | November 24, 2017 12:45 am



India enterprises, National Aluminium Company (Nalco), Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) and Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL), are hunting for strategic mineral assets in Nigeria and other African countries.

Mining of minerals in Nigeria over the years have been under-developed leading to Nigeria having to import salt and iron ore that could be source locally.

However, the three government-controlled firms are looking seriously to float a joint venture (JV) considering Nigeria alongside South Africa as one of its target.

“We have identified 12 strategic minerals that are not abundantly available in India. The JV that Nalco will form with MECL and HCL would look for such assets in the African countries. We may go for a buyout of such assets or think of tie-ups with local companies there”, said Nalco’s Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) T K Chand.

The identified strategic minerals include tin, tungsten, titanium, gallium, lithium, tantalum, cobalt, niobium, selenium and indium. The objective is to make the country self-sufficient in such minerals.

Earlier on September 19, the three central public-sector undertakings (PSUs) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the objective of making the country self-reliant in the areas of 12 strategic minerals that are either not available in the country or not available in optimum quantity.

The objective of the MoU is to set up a JV company– Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL)– to identify, explore, acquire, develop and process the strategic minerals overseas for commercial use. As part of the signed pact, minerals would be supplied to India to meet its domestic requirements and for providing a boost to the Make in India drive of the central government.

A task force, chaired by the director of projects at Nalco, has been formed to put up a draft JV agreement by the second week of November. The three CMDs are scheduled to meet again towards the third week of November to finalise the modalities of the JV pact.

David Ibemere