The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi and his South African counterpart, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane (MP), on Tuesday endorsed a two-year work plan for the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) earlier reached between the two countries in the areas of mining, mineral processing and metallurgy.
The two-year work plan, which is a follow up to the meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma, earlier in the year, is scheduled to commence in January 2017 and to be concluded by December 2018.
Tuesday’s meeting between the two ministers was attended by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari and some top officials of the Nigerian Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, while the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Louis Mnguni also attended with other top officials of the South African Ministry of Mineral Resources.
The meeting took place at the conference room of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Abuja.
Both Dr Fayemi and Zwane, while addressing journalists after the meeting, said they were optimistic that the economic and technical cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa, in the areas of geology, mining and mineral processing, among others, would advance the economies of the two countries.
A communiqué issued at the end of the one-day meeting identified 10 strategic areas of cooperation. These include: geology, regulatory framework and licensing; mineral processing; metallurgy; artisanal and small scale mining; investment promotion; and capacity building.
“The MoU also aligned the activities to support the cooperation in mining and minerals development with the respective National Priority Programmes of both countries including diversification of the economy and job creation that span energy security, industrialisation and advancement of agricultural development in the context of food security programme”.
The Ministers also agreed to jointly host a mining investment promotion conference in Nigeria during the second half of 2017.
Dr Fayemi said both South Africa and Nigeria have some things to learn from each other in their drive towards economic diversification and economic sustainability. He said the effective execution of the work plan would further strengthen the cordial relationship between the two countries.
The South African Minister, Mr Zwane in his speech said his country was interested in strengthening relationship with Nigeria in the mining sector, especially in the area of capacity building “as African brothers for mutual benefits.”.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Bawa Bwari commended the two countries for the hard work and commitment demonstrated by the technical working groups towards the preparation of the implementation action plan of the MoU.