Solid minerals development fund, fertilizer firm sign exploration agreement

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The Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) and OCP Africa Fertilizers Nigeria Limited, (OCP), have signed a technical cooperation agreement relating to the exploration and development of Nigeria’s phosphate deposits in the Sokoto Basin.

Daily Trust Newspaper reported that the agreement was signed in Casablanca, Morocco and will ensure technical cooperation between SMDF and OCP Africa, in the fields of phosphates exploration and appraisal.

It is also hoped to support SMDF effort to develop phosphate mining and provide training and academic exchanges, aimed at developing human capacity in the Nigerian mining sector through the training of exploration geologists and mining engineers.

Speaking on the strategic partnership, Executive Secretary, Solid Minerals Development Fund, Hajiya Fatima Umar Shinkafi stated that phosphate is one of the five strategic minerals that have been identified by the SMDF for immediate intervention.

She said based on regional application rates, Nigeria has the potential to consume 2.4 million tons of phosphate fertilizers annually, but currently consume less than 200,000 tons, hoping that the exploitation of Sokoto phosphate deposits will provide an economically viable method of achieving this potential.

In his remarks, Managing Director, OCP Africa Fertilizers Nigeria Limited, Mohamed Hettiti said SMDF targets development of the phosphate mining industry in Nigeria and that was why OCP will leverage on its capabilities and technical know how to achieve those objectives.

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