Samuel Bello, Abuja
The government of South Korea has expressed desire to invest in the Nigerian mining sector and renew the collaborative efforts of both countries.
South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Lee In-tae, disclosed to newsmen in Abuja during a courtesy visit to the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari, that there are many South Korean investors who are interested in investing in Nigeria because of the abundant resources in the country.
According to him, South Korea is now ready to revive the MoU signed with the Ministry in 2004 as a result of his country’s desire to strengthen trade between the two countries.
“I am here to find out the best way to collaborate with Nigeria in the area of mining, I know that there are many mineral resources in Nigeria, I am not an economist nor a geologist but I have the energy to promote the relationship between Nigeria and South Korea.” he said.
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The envoy further said that South Korean investors who were interested in investing in Nigeria have been hampered by a dearth of geological information on the mineral types and occurrence in Nigeria.
In-tae urged the ministry to make available to his embassy the necessary information for onward transmission to investors back in his home country.
Reacting to South Korean Ambassador’s plea, the Minister assured him that immediate steps would be taken to supply his office with all the relevant details as the Ministry is ready to revive the previous MoU.
Bawa noted that Nigeria has a lot to learn from South Korea in many aspects especially in the area of minerals development, now that the Nigerian government is focused on diversifying the economy.
The minister noted that before now, Nigeria’s major collaboration with most countries has been in the area of oil and gas.
“Nigeria is known for oil and gas while very little is known about mineral resources but Nigeria has lot of potentials in minerals.
“We have major minerals that are needed in the world market including Tin, Zinc, Gold, limestone and so on and we seek collaborations with countries that have relative advantage in terms of technology and capacity,” he said.
He noted that South Korea is very important in the world economy and is worth doing business with, being a country that has moved not just from a developing country to a developed country but to a major economy in the whole world.
“We need to revive the MoU with your country so that we can continue from where we stopped especially in the area of capacity building, machinery, geological data and other collaborations that will further strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and South Korea,” he noted.
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He, however, called on South Korean investors to beam their light towards the Nigeria Mining Sector and reassured them of favourable terms and conducive environment.
Speaking on the 2004 MoU, Special adviser to the Minister on Technical Matters, Mr. Olapade Davies, revealed that the Memorandum on development of mineral resources has a lifespan of five (5) years.
He said the process of reviving the MoU is already in progress and would be concluded during the Bi National Conference that will be organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this year.