…urges stakeholders to support policies
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) said it is set to facilitate the development of seven strategic minerals – gold, barite, lead/zinc, iron ore, bitumen and limestone – and regulate activities of the sector.
Speaking at the first international conference and exhibition of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists (NSEG) themed “Economic Diversification: The Role of the Geoscientists, Government and Private Sector” in Abuja, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch. Olamilekan Adegbite, said the Nigerian mineral sector offers robust economic potential for the diversification of the nation’s economy yet the country and others in Africa have continued to suffer underutilisation of their mineral resources.
“As part of its effort to reposition the solid minerals sector, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development early in 2016, identified insufficient geoscientific data and geological knowledge, weak implementation and enforcement of mining law and regulations and poorly regulated and informal artisans and small-scale mining sub-sector as critical binding constraints to the sector’s development.
“This propelled the ministry to immediately begin the process of preparing a detailed sector roadmap aimed at advancing certain strategic objectives, which would eventually result in the: creation of a globally competitive sector capable of contributing to wealth creation; provision of jobs and advance social and human security by focusing on using its mining assets to drive domestic industrialisation; and migration to winning in global markets through a value chained-based growth plan,” he said.
Represented by the director-general, Mining Cadastre Office, Engr. Simon Nkom, Adegbite also called on geoscientists and stakeholders to support the government’s policy and efforts in diversifying the nation’s economy, using the mineral sector as one of the key drivers.
Earlier, the NSEG president, Dr. Abdulrasaq Garba, said economic geologists are key to the Federal Government’s economic diversification programme targeted at job and wealth creation as they provide veritable and robust linkages in mineral development.
Garba, the director-general of the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), said the Federal Government aims to develop a well-governed mining sector and articulate a roadmap to identify and address challenges which will make the sector an irresistible destination for global capital.
In his remarks, the president, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Alabo Charles, said the growth and development of the Nigerian mining industry will increase the sector’s contribution to GDP over the next decade. He further speculated that this could increase investment in the private and public sectors, create more employments and bring about overall growth and financial stability for the economy.