From Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau
The Executive Secretary Solid Minerals Development Fund, Hajiya Fatima Umaru Shinkafi has signed a cooperation agreement with the OCP Africa Fertilizers for the development of Nigeria’s Phosphate Deposits in Casablanca Morocco.
In a statement which was made available to our reporter in Gusau, Zamfara State capital by the SMDF Special Assistant, Media and Public Relations, Bashir Kabir Ahmad, the agreement was signed by the Executive Secretary SMDF and the Managing Director of OCP Africa Fertilizers Muhammad Hattiti.
He said it is an extension to the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative of President Muhammad Buhari’s administration.
According to the statement, the SMDF and the OCP Africa Fertilizers will work towards mining and developing Nigeria’s Phosphate reserves in the areas of Engineering Capabilities, Technical Cooperation in the fields of phosphate, Experience, Support of SMDF effort to develop phosphate mining in Nigeria as well as Training and Academic Exchanges.
It further said, “Hajiya Fatima Umaru Shinkafi has explained that, the SMDF has prioritised phosphate for solid minerals development in Nigeria due to presence of the reserves and its potential for direct application of Nigeria’s reactive phosphate on the nation’s acidic soil”.
She assured that “matching South Africa’s phosphate application rate will make Nigeria the largest phosphate fertilizer market size 10 times that of South Africa valued at $260 million as Nigeria’s phosphate fertilizer application rate is 2kg per hectare, a figure far below the world average application rate of 16kg per hectare and peer countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya averaging 13kg per hectare and 16kg per hectare respectively.”
It would be recalled that recently, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Solid Minerals Development Fund to drive the development of Nigeria’s phosphate and potash reserves as an extension to the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative as the SMDF was solely established in 2007 by the Federal Government through the 2007 Minerals and Mining Act to drive investments in Nigeria’s Mining Sector.
The SMDF which was fully a fledged operationalized during President Muhammadu Buhari administration had identified $500 million worth of investments in the Mining Sector that can lucratively unlock $1.5 billion private sector capital.