The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu has issued a resounding call to action for stakeholders across diverse sectors to invest in domestic refining and production, creating a pathway for development and wealth generation in Nigeria.
The minister made the call during the 2nd African Resource and Energy Investment Summit 2023 in Abuja, titled “Adding Value to the Mining Sector: Locally Producing Transition Metals”.
In his address, Audu acknowledged the transformative and evolutionary journey of the mining sector in Nigeria, emphasising the need for a commitment to sustainability. This commitment involves responsible mining practices and environmentally friendly production techniques to mitigate any adverse impact on the ecosystem.
“Our journey in the mining sector has been both transformative and evolutionary. As we stand at the cusp of a new era, the pursuit of value addition becomes paramount, particularly in the realm of transition metals. The demand for these metals, crucial in the development of green technologies, has surged globally. Africa’s potential to meet this demand is vast, yet largely untapped.
“The key lies not only in extracting these metals but in harnessing our capabilities to refine and produce them locally. Doing so is an opportunity to foster economic growth, create jobs, and also maintain control over our resource value chain,” he stated.
Audu highlighted the crucial fact that wealth generated from domestic production would significantly benefit local communities, empowering people and fostering technological innovation. He called on various stakeholders, including national and sub-national governments, industry players and investors, to collaborate in building robust infrastructure, promoting innovation and instituting supportive policies to encourage local value addition and tackle challenges effectively.
The minister pledged the government’s commitment to supporting initiatives that promote the local production of transition metals. He emphasised the need for innovation and transformation in steel production while aligning advancements with global environmental standards. Audu revealed that a roadmap was being developed for the revitalisation of the steel sector in Nigeria. This includes addressing issues of insurance for government-owned steel plants, providing incentives for investors in the sector, and designating a 24,000-hectare land in Ajaokuta as an Industrial Park. These measures aim to create jobs, attract investments, and significantly contribute to Nigeria’s gross domestic product, in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda.
He also unveiled the roadmap for the Ministry of Steel Development, outlining key strategies to produce transition metals locally:
Enforcing the processing of raw materials locally: The government will ensure a conducive environment for investments in mineral processing plants, fostering forex proliferation and job creation in the mining sector.
Improving promotional activities for specific minerals: Audu stressed the need for intensified local and global promotion of minerals like Lithium, Gold, Limestone, and others to attract investments.
Investing in the exploration of bankable data for mining: The government will encourage investments in determining large volumes and deposits of transition metals.
Securing the mining environment: Enhancing security initiatives for mining operations is a top priority.
Establishing host communities’ mineral development fund: This fund aims to address challenges investors often face concerning the ownership of mineral deposits within local communities.
Audu’s call to invest in domestic refining and production reflects the government’s commitment to leveraging Nigeria’s mining sector for sustainable development and economic growth.