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RAPIDLINK INTERVIEW: “The solid mineral subsector is the alternative resource for the future of the Nigerian economy, providing an alternative to crude oil”

Exclusive interview with Bassel Mourad, director of Rapidlink Resources Ltd, a member of the Rapidlink Group of Companies Limited. A longstanding supporter of Nigeria Mining Week, the company returns as a gold sponsor this year.

Welcome back to Nigeria Mining Week 2023! You have been a longstanding partner of the event. Can we start with a quick background of the company and your offering?

Thank you for having us. It’s a pleasure to be here again with you at this year’s Nigeria Mining Week. Rapidlink Resources Limited has been part of this event from inception and we are glad to continue to partner with you going into the future.

At Rapidlink Group, we are into maritime, oil and gas, construction, solid minerals prospecting, exploration, mining and consultancy services. Our activities in the solid minerals’ subsector includes all the work with respect to prospecting, exploration and mining. We have developed technical competencies including new ideas and technologies to enhance our activities in that space. We have invested in some assets and handheld equipment, including the latest libs analyzer(Z-903) from SCIAPS USA for on spot lithium analysis, diamond rigs (ECR 18) that can go up to 2,500 meters, RC drilling rigs, downhole survey cameras, core analysis shed, sample prep equipment etc.

Any new projects in Nigeria that you are particularly excited about currently?

Yes. On the public front, we partnered with the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency in the geological enhancement and development of four minerals commodities—detailed assessment of tin and associated rare earth minerals. We also partnered with the Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF) in the exploration of limestone deposits in Ebonyi State.

On the private front, we are working on some new projects around the development of lithium, lead, zinc, copper, cassiterite and tantalite.

Where are you focusing for future growth?

We are focusing on developing the above projects as a priority. We are also looking at partnering with the Ministry of Mines and Steel (MMSD) and her subagencies in the medium to long term in the development of this sector and supporting the Nigerian government in de-risking the sector.

How important is the mining sector for the future of Nigeria’s economy in your view?

Very important!

Like we have consistently mentioned and posited at the Rapidlink Group, the solid mineral subsector is the alternative resource for the future of the Nigerian economy. Most developed economies are planning to do away with fossil fuels—crude oil. The solid minerals space provides this alternative to crude. This sector is very important. In addition, as the company that worked on rare earths in the NIMEP project, we have generated data that has brought a lot of interest in lithium today.

What are the particular challenges in Nigeria and the region?

Security, security, security … this cannot be overemphasized as well as access to finance in the mining sector.

Is the Nigerian government doing the right things to attract investment and exploitation of the country’s mineral wealth?

I believe we are on the right track as a country. Showcasing our results and activities in major mining seminars and conventions, tax holidays, etc. The government should also increase funding of the sector for the continuous provisions of geoscience information and data to would-be investors.

Our spend/budget as a country in generating these data is less than 10% of what is spent in other countries we are trying to emulate. There are models that have worked in other countries. No need to reinvent the wheel; let’s just emulate and improve on it.

You are a pioneer of the mining industry, are there still things about this sector that surprise you?

Nothing surprises us in the industry. We should be ready to showcase more of our findings as our potential as a country is still closely kept under the lid.

What will be your message at the upcoming Nigeria Mining Week?

I’d enjoin all participants to focus on providing ideas and solutions on how to deepen our mineral subsector. We intend to deliver a presentation that focuses on the “Handshake between the academia and the operators”. Academia is a huge resource that operators need to tap into for research works, papers and data needed for the development of the sector. We have always tried to carry academia along in our works as we believe that to have a good mining sector, you must upskill most local professionals but enhancing the curriculum.

You have been a sponsor and exhibitor at the event before and this year, Rapidlink Group is back at the event as a gold sponsor. What has been your experience of Nigeria Mining Week over the years?

As communicated earlier, Rapidlink Group has been part of this event right from the very first edition. We’ve seen considerable growth and new participants and operators year on year. The Covid pandemic did cause some slowdowns, but the event has picked up and is living up to its bidding. Nigeria Mining Week is currently the biggest and most robust platform that brings together all stakeholders in the solid minerals sector of the economy. It has also attracted notable foreign investors. We are glad to be part of this event and will continue to partner with the event planners into the future.

Anything you would like to add?

I would like to encourage everyone to visit our booth and engage with us and other participants as the mining sector is the future of the Nigerian economy.

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