Nigeria’s rising challenges in the petroleum sector have been a blessing in disguise, by providing a well-needed incentive to diversify the economy and focus on the development of the solid minerals sector. Indeed, the country is endowed with vast mineral resources, including gold, coal and iron ore. Yet, the domestic mining industry is underdeveloped and accounts for only 0.18% of national GDP in 2018.
In 2017 Nigeria created the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) principally to support the development of capacity in the solid minerals sector, as well as enable funding for geo-scientific data gathering, storage and retrieval to meet the needs of private sector-led mining industry. It is also meant to equip mining institutions to enable them to perform their statutory functions, to enable funding for certain extension services to be rendered by the government to artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) operators, as well as to enhance the provision of infrastructure in areas where mining activities are conducted. The SMDF’s work is guided by the Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry published by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) in 2016. The objective of the Capstone team will be to build on the excellent work of the 2019 Capstone by assisting the SMDF in further implementing the Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Industry. Notably, and depending on the execution stage of the pilot, the SMDF may request the Capstone team to evaluate the successes and shortcomings of the National Gold Purchase Program and design a proposal for scaling it sustainably nationwide.