The Dangote Group has revealed that its decision to venture into coal mining was simply a way of conserving the scarce foreign reserve associated with coal importation into the country. Speaking at the 4th Nigeria Mining Week on Tuesday in Abuja, the Group Executive Director Portfolio Development and Capital Project, Dangote Group, Edwin Devakuma said his company was investing hugely in coal mining, while effectively helping the country to halt the staggering cost of coal importation.
According to him: “While focusing on the development of the extractive industries is good, the key is the value addition” He said value addition and the entrepreneurial vision of its Group President Alhaji Aliko Dangote were the passwords for the company’s success in the mining sector.
He said other areas his company has prioritized and will help develop the Mining industry include: Training and development of personnel in Geology, investment in equipment, automation and business model refining. He said while the company embraced backward integration policy, the focus was to add value.
“The Dangote Group decided to go for backward integration by getting into the manufacturing of the various products it has been importing. The focus was to add value to these minerals by using them to produce cement,” he added.
He said: “Subsequently we decided to go in for coal mining, essentially as a fuel for the cement manufacturing activities in our various cement plants in Nigeria. Earlier we were importing coal from South Africa, USA, and other countries.”
According to him, the challenges before the mining sector in Nigeria include: The death of bankable and reliable geoscience data on available sold mineral resources, difficulty in securing cost-effective long term funds, weak infrastructure, poor cohesion between the different tiers of government and insecurity.
Speaking also the Minister of Mines and Steel Development Olamilekan Adegbite said the Federal Government is working on making sure that it deepens investment in the sector by making sure that investors access the N2.5billion Solid Mineral Development Fund.
He said the mining sector was at the thrust of the FG’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. He urged for collaboration between the private sector and the government. Speaking, Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule, said his state was providing the enabling environment for mining to thrive. According to him, the Dangote group is a tested and dependable partner in the development of the sector in Nigeria.
President Miners Association of Nigeria MAN0 Kabiru Muhammad Kankara said it has been very difficult for his members to access the N2.5billion Fund, urging the government to ease the process in the interest of the larger economy.