Some US officials of Energy and Natural Resources have held discussion with Minister of Solid Mineral Dele Lake on exploring ways to secure credit to finance mining firms and infrastructures in Nigeria. The move was the agreement reached between Geoffrey Pratt, United States Assistant Secretary, Energy and Natural Resources and Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, on the sidelines of the Mines & Money conference holding in London, UK. Mr Pratt said his visit to Mr Alake followed an earlier meeting with President Bola Tinubu, who sought the support of the US for the country’s economic revival.
He said the US would like to be Nigeria’s partner of choice in developing the solid minerals sector and was interested in the reforms announced by the minister in his address at the plenary of the conference. He said that the United States has various institutions and laws which encourage direct foreign investment, Mr Pratt said he would notify the agencies to collaborate with their Nigerian counterparts to work out the framework. Responding, Mr Alake said the gesture was music to his ears as the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has launched a seven-point agenda as its roadmap to reposition the sector. He highlighted the establishment of the new Solid Minerals Development Company, a new security architecture to ensure the safety of mine operations and data generation on a massive scale to de-risk the sector.
He said the credit facility and foreign direct investment promised by the United States would be in the mutual interest of both countries because energy minerals such as lithium are critical to the global crusade for clean energy and necessary for the manufacture of electric cars. Also speaking at the meeting, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Fund, Fatima Shinkafi, commended the US for investing in mining infrastructures in Central Africa, urging a similar partnership with the Fund.