AFC, SMDF, and Xcalibur Partner to Boost Nigeria's Geological Data Capabilities

Abuja, 18th October 2023 – In a groundbreaking move for Nigeria's mining sector, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the leading infrastructure provider on the continent, the Solid Minerals Development Fund of Nigeria (SMDF), a Nigerian mining-focused development fund, and Xcalibur Multiphysics (Xcalibur), a global leader in airborne geophysics, have joined forces to enhance the landscape of geo-scientific data and geological mapping for early-stage mining projects in Nigeria. The three institutions signed a Cooperation Agreement yesterday on the sidelines of the ongoing Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja.

The collaboration will pursue initiatives that enhance the availability of Nigeria's geological data to interested investors across the globe and design an exploration program for mapping the country's subterranean mineral wealth. Additionally, AFC, SMDF and Xcalibur will aim to establish a comprehensive database that effectively showcases Nigeria's resource potential, thus encouraging long-term investment from banks, mining firms, financial institutions, and individuals.

Earlier this year, AFC and Xcalibur signed a joint venture agreement to partner on mapping, developing and co-financing natural resource projects in Africa, and this initiative in Nigeria is an offshoot of the program. With this tripartite agreement, AFC and SMDF will jointly explore suitable financing solutions, engage with regulators, support relevant government agencies, and facilitate government discussions while Xcalibur contributes technical support, oversees data quality, and conducts economic evaluation studies, including potential biodiversity and environmental mapping.

Commenting on this landmark agreement, Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC, said, “Nigeria's abundant natural resources provide a promising foundation for growth and development. However, there is currently a limited understanding of the vast underground mineral wealth within the country. In order to address this, our collaboration with SMDF and Xcalibur seeks to significantly improve the availability of high-quality geomapping data. This ambitious initiative will not only attract valuable mining investments but also pave the way for the development of critical mineral resources in Nigeria with intentional focus on value capture and retention in line with the minerals value chain policy in the country. Ultimately, our goal is to establish Nigeria as a pivotal player in the global energy transition.”

Fatima Umaru Shinkafi, Executive Secretary and CEO of Solid Minerals Development Fund, said, "Over 90% of Nigeria remains underexplored, with significant potential to discover and increase existing deposits. Increased exploration activity is crucial to realising the benefits of the country's geological endowment and supporting a pipeline of new projects to market. Given that Nigeria accounts for less than 0.5% of the global exploration budget, our partnership with AFC and Xcalibur will act as a stimulus for resource exploration activity, derisk resource exploration in Nigeria, and increase the global appeal of Nigeria as a resource exploration destination.”

"We are thrilled to join forces with the AFC and the SMDF in this groundbreaking project to enhance geophysical data in Nigeria,” said Dario Castellanos, VP Financing and Middle East Director of Xcalibur Multiphysics. ”Our collaboration will bolster the availability of high-quality geophysical data that will attract mining investments and contribute to the development of critical mineral resources in the country. We believe that this initiative will be instrumental in establishing Nigeria as a pivotal player in the global energy transition, and we are fully committed to the success of this exciting project."

Despite being home to 30% of the world's mineral reserves, Africa receives only 5% of global mining financing. AFC is a significant investor in Africa's mining sector, deploying over $900 million in critical projects over the last seven years. The Corporation's interventions have sought to close the mining sector's financing gap by deploying its in-house project development expertise and structuring capabilities to support sponsors in derisking projects for bankability. Recent examples of transformational mining projects in which AFC has invested include the Dynamic Mining Bauxite Mine in Guinea, expected to increase the country's bauxite production and exports, and the FG Gold Baomahun Gold Project in Sierra Leone, which is expected to contribute significantly to local job creation and sustainable economic development.

About AFC

AFC was established in 2007 to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa. AFC's approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development, and risk capital to address Africa's infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. Sixteen years on, AFC has developed a track record as the partner of choice in Africa for investing and delivering on instrumental, high-quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. AFC has 42 member countries and has invested US$12.7 billion across Africa since inception.

About SMDF

The Solid Minerals Development Fund is a sovereign Fund established by the Government of Nigeria to drive and catalyse private sector-led investments in Nigeria's mining sector. The SMDF's objectives are to actively pursue investments that will derisk the Nigerian mining sector, to be the partner of choice for opportunities, and to empower the economic development and diversification of the Nigerian economy through the mining sector. The Fund's mandate is to unlock financing to promote the growth of Nigeria's mining sector and improve economic parameters such as job creation and mining sector contribution to GDP while ensuring sufficient returns to the Fund. The SMDF invests mainly across three funds: SMDF Growth, SMDF Opportunities and SMDF Responsible Mining.

About Xcalibur Multiphysics

Xcalibur is the worldwide leader in airborne geophysics, providing diverse geophysical technologies, processing and interpretation to assist its clients in their quest of develop Natural Resources. Xcalibur technology to map potential minerals, oil & gas, geothermal sources and ground water. Xcalibur is specifically focussed on developing a sustainable energy transition towards clean and efficient energies.

With 100 years of experience, Xcalibur Multiphysics has established more than 50 million linear kilometres of collected data. With more than 1000 projects executed on 6 continents, a fleet of 35 owned specialised aircraft and 85 geophysical systems. Xcalibur continues to execute projects with safety, sustainability, technological innovation, operational excellence, and cost efficiency at the centre of its core values.

Media Enquiries:

Yewande Thorpe


Africa Finance Corporation

Mobile: +234 1 279 9654


Gavin Serkin

New Markets Media & Intelligence

Telephone: +44 20 3478 9710


Moyin Olukayode

Solid Minerals Development Fund

Mobile: +234 806 971 1383


Maria Fernandez


Xcalibur Multiphysics


Coming soon!