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BoI, School of Mines Seal Pact on Solid Minerals Value-chain Development

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  • BoI, School of Mines Seal Pact on Solid Minerals Value-chain Development  

To further encourage exploitation of the nation’s vast solid minerals as well as value-addition, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has partnered ‎with Laurel School of Mines (LSM) to implement its commodity-based industrialisation strategy in the gem stone sector.

Besides, the partnership will see the two institutions building capacity of 1600 potential entrepreneurs in the sector before funds are made available for on-lending to successful businesses.

The acting ‎Managing Director, BoI, Waheed Olagunju, also said the partnership is in line with the bank’s commodity based industrialisation strategy which is adding value to the nation’s vast natural resource endowments.

Olagunju during a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) signing ceremony with LSM, said: “We have lots of agricultural resources, solid minerals and oil, but solid minerals is the lowest hanging fruit. With gem stones, you do not have to wait like agriculture where you plant to harvest and process. We have gem stones where we can pick them up, add value and within few weeks and make thousands of dollars.”

According to him, the partnership is also coming on the heels of Nigeria’s quest to diversify its economic revenue base, saying that the gem stones industry is capable of earning the much needed foreign exchange for the economy.

“‎The turnaround time is faster in precious stones unlike what we have in agriculture or the petroleum sector. We are going to create a lot of entrepreneurs in this sector. Under the MoU, Laurel School of Mines will be training 1600 entrepreneurs in eight locations. That means 200 entrepreneurs per location across the country spanning the six geopolitical zones including Lagos and Abuja. Those who are trained and show signs of becoming a potential miner will be supported by the BoI. There will be four batches of 50 each in these locations in order to ensure that the training is effective which is expected to last for three days.

“We will give them concessional facilities to enable them to trade and export gem stones to earn foreign exchange which would go a long way to help Nigeria in diversifying the economy while also earning foreign exchange for the country,” he added.

The acting BoI boss added that the course curricular of the training programme will include picking the gem stones, adding value and trading for export.

“LSM are global players and have operated in Asia successfully and in some parts of Africa as well. “We are dealing with a reputable institution that is Nigerian and the MoU we are signing is also in sync with the BoI’s operation strategy. We operate and collaborate with domestic and foreign development partners. LSM happens to be a domestic development partner in the private sector and the first in the solid minerals space,” he stated.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer of LSM, Tope Adebanjo, said if Nigeria channels the required efforts towards gem stone development, the industry is capable of turning the fortunes of the economy around, maintaining that the multi-billion industry has transformed many‎ economies of the world.

”It is sad that the foreigners are dominating the gem stone business and there are many millions of youths in the country that are unemployed. The industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. We can make Lagos and Abuja another Las Vegas in Nigeria,” he said.

He however said factors affecting investment in gem stone development in Nigeria includes lack of capital, market, technology, mineral resource and entrepreneurs, pointing the need to develop entrepreneurs in Nigeria to take advantage of the enterprising sector.

“The training we are embarking on is about $277 per person for three days which is less than $100 a day. Selection will be done diligently together with the BoI. Basically, the whole idea is to engage the youth to take over what belongs to them. Nigerians are ‎intellectually sound, ready and willing to work, but the problem is who will lead them to work,” he said.

He said Nigeria is currently tapping next to nothing in the global share index of the industry, maintaining that almost half of the total population of Thailand which is about 60 million‎ engage directly and indirectly in gem stone production.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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