… to bring Vedanta, world’s largest zinc miner, to Nigeria
Nigeria’s minister of mines and steel development, Kayode Fayemi, at the weekend in Cape Town, South Africa, took centre stage among ministers of mines across Africa in a new drive to reverse illicit outflows of the continent’s mineral resource wealth.
This latest move follows new data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) that about $50 billion is lost annually by African countries due to opaque dealings involving foreign mining companies and their local collaborators, especially through unstructured, illegal and unreported transactions.
Speaking at the annual Investing in African Mining Indaba Ministerial Symposium in Cape Town, Fayemi said this negative economic trend could be reversed through the involvement of credible multinational mining firms in transparent local operations, while phasing out unstructured artisanal mining practices that harm miners, breed corruption and weaken national economies.
“I’ve just finished speaking with the managing director of Vedanta Resources, they have the largest lead/zinc mine in the world. We are rich in lead and zinc, we have one of the largest lead and zinc deposits in Plateau State, and he was interested and we struck an engagement, with directives from me to my team here to go and work out the details for their coming into Nigeria to work,” the minister said exclusively to BusinessDay on the sidelines of the mining conference.
According to Fayemi, “That is the value of this meeting; as a fallout of the meeting, Vedanta is extremely keen to get involved in mining activities in Nigeria.”
He also expressed that African leaders were coming to terms with the fact that the continent cannot ignore the relationship between government, mining companies and the citizens, particularly the civil society, which must be pooled together in order to ensure that African communities get the benefits that should come to them.
The loss being recorded by African nations from lack of transparency in its mining sector is considered by some experts as higher than previously estimated.
According to Aida Opoku-Mensah, special advisor to the executive secretary of UNECA on post 2015 development agenda, “this $50 billion figure is conservative and underpins disproportional transfer pricing and corruption, and could even be as high as $100 billion.”
Opoku-Mensah’s duties at UNECA include the coordination of activities at the continental and global levels, while working with key partners to further inclusive and sustainable economic growth through effective use of Africa’s natural resources.