Nigeria looks to economic diversification, awards $41.5mln worth mining contract to 10 mining, consulting firms

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LONDON, Nov 27 – Nigeria has awarded a mining contract to ten exploration and consulting companies as part of the country’s efforts to develop the sector, the mining and steel development minister said on Tuesday.

Abubakar Bawa Bwari did not say how much the contracts were worth but in July he had said eight firms would be awarded a government contract to the tune of 12.7 billion naira ($41.5 million).

Nigeria, Africa’s top crude oil producer, is aiming to diversify its economy by developing other industries such as mining through various incentives.

“Recently we gave a contract to four exploration companies, with six consulting firms to explore our mineral resources focusing on gold, zinc, iron ore, rare earth metals,” Bwari told Reuters on the sidelines of the Mines and Money conference in London.

Bwari said Nigeria had offered mining companies a three to five year “tax holiday”, duty and tax-free importing of equipment, full ownership of their businesses and the ability to take profits out of the country.

“Apart from the normal budgetary allocation government has given intervention of $100 million and we are focusing on exploration,” he said, adding that the funds would be used to help government to develop the sector.

The World Bank was in Nigeria a few weeks ago to discuss progress on spending the $150 million the bank agreed to lend the country in April to develop the mining industry, Bwari said, adding that he would like things to move more quickly.

Companies such as Toronto-listed gold company Thor Exploration and Australian zinc miner Symbol Mining have operations in Nigeria.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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