As part of Federal Government’s effort to harness and effective tap potentials of Nigeria’s mineral resources, government today, launched two aircraft to be deployed for the geo-physical survey of the minerals in the country.
Speaking at the launch at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, said the survey would cover 19 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He added the government already had a broad knowledge of the minerals on ground but would need the survey to acquire clear data on the mineral deposits in the country and their locations to attract the right investors into the sector.
According to him, the aircraft, brought in by the South African company, Xcalibur Multiphysics and which will carry a single pilot on board is equipped with equipment that will monitor certain parameters on ground and the data will be collected in computers and interpreted.
“What we are here to do is actually part of a program to acquire data on the minerals in Nigeria, this is a basic method of acquiring data that is through geo-physical measurement. The aircraft are special aircraft with equipment in them that monitors certain parameters on the ground, which has to be done when the weather is dry. The data collected are automatically transloaded to computers that will interpret them. The data will enhance our ability to know what minerals we have and attract the right investors into the sector.
“We already have a broad knowledge of the minerals we have on the ground but this will enhance it and give us clearer data. The most important thing for exploration is to dig into the ground and we are doing it in some places for bitumen in Ondo, Edo and Ogun as we speak and getting good findings for bitumen.
“This will give us data that can be utilized. It is part of a World Bank program, the bid for the program was made open and a company from South Africa Xcalibur Multiphysics won it, they have brought in their aircraft and we are expecting two more. We had to go through a lot of security protocols, the National Security Adviser is aware and the Air Force has given us the go ahead. They are going to be flying at a very low altitude of about 50 meters which is about the height of 15 storey buildings so from the ground you will see the aircraft and hear the noise.
“To alley people’s fears, we have been going around the states and sensitizing people, we have gone to let the governors know and through the governments of the states, the news is being spread, we have jingles on radio in all the major languages,” he added.
Earlier, the technical adviser, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver), John Eyre, said: “We are looking for signatures of all minerals, particularly metallic minerals like gold, lead, zinc, silver, all have different signatures. For instance, metallic minerals have a higher signal than non-metallic minerals. What we are looking for is not necessarily the minerals themselves but the geological setting where they may be found.”