In pursuit of its ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda aimed at bolstering local capacity for industrialisation and fostering value addition in the solid minerals sector, the Federal Government has inaugurated a 10-man committee tasked with fortifying mechanisms for the full-scale and industrial production of salt and kaolin in the country.
Addressing attendees during the inauguration ceremony at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development/Steel Development, Dr. Mary Ogbe highlighted the initiative’s alignment with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda. The agenda seeks to enhance domestic use, increase export capacity and generate employment opportunities.
Ogbe expressed the urgency of changing the narrative and kickstarting the nation’s development, emphasising President Tinubu’s call to believe in and develop the country. The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake is determined to spearhead the exploration, exploitation and processing of salt and kaolin in Nigeria for domestic use and subsequent export, contributing to job creation, conserving foreign exchange and boosting the economy.
The permanent secretary assigned the 10-man committee specific terms of reference, including determining the extent and locations of brine and rock salt, assessing the viability of exploration licenses, evaluating the cost of exploration, proposing a roadmap for establishing processing plants and providing recommendations to proactively develop the sector.
Ogbe stressed the urgency of the assignment, setting a deadline of November 30, 2023, for the committee to submit its report. The director-general of the Council for Mining Engineers and Geoscientists of Nigeria, Prof. Zachaeus Opafunsho will chair the committee, with the director of special duties department in the ministry, Mrs. Salamatu Umar serving as the secretary. The committee’s work is expected to pave the way for a robust and self-sufficient salt and kaolin industry in Nigeria.