The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, has identified Nigeria’s mining sector as having great potential to provide an alternative source of revenue for her national development.
Speaking during the foundation-laying ceremony of the Gold Souk in Kumbotso local government area of Kano, he said it could not have come at a better time.
Represented by the Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, Adegbite said the government of Nigeria, in her bid to create enabling environment to support the mining, has identified the artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sub-sector as a major driver of the key growth parameters to spur the development of the mining sector since over 90 per cent of the mining activities in the country could safely be said to be ASM-driven.
He further stated that the move is in line with the Federal Government’s resolve to anchor its economic diversification agenda on two key sectors; mining and agriculture.
“We have designed six strategic artisanal and small-scale mining cluster projects in six geopolitical zones as a means to harness the potential of the 3 million-plus ASM operators in the country, namely: Northwest Zone – Kano, gold souk; Northeast Zone – Bauchi, kaolin; North Central Zone – Kogi, gold; Processing plants: Southwest Zone – Oyo, gemstones’ market; Southeast Zone – Ebonyi, lead/zinc, South-south Zone – Cross River – barytes,” he said.
The minister also disclosed that the event offered a golden opportunity to highlight the efforts of the Buhari administration’s receptivity to the potentials available in the mining sector to serve as an alternative revenue source.
The concept of Kano Gold Souk was a policy carefully crafted to spur job creation and capacity development of ASM gold-mining operators in the Northwestern states of Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi, Zamfara and environs through the economic growth and sustainability plan of the government.
Also speaking at the event, the governor of Kano State, Dr. Umar Ganduje, said the state remained one of Nigeria’s economic and commercial centers, the most populous state in the federation and, historically, the center of commerce.
According to him, there was no doubt about establishing the Gold Souk in Kano and no better time and place.
“When this present administration came in, the President specifically stated clearly that we could no longer rely on oil; that we have to go back to the drawing board, which is agriculture and mining”.
Speaking earlier, the special adviser to the governor of Kano State on solid minerals, Balaraba Admed, said the project would attract huge economic gains to the state.
A statement by the ministry’s director of press, signed by Tony Ekpo, said Admed described the event as a “historic and great achievement” in the solid mineral sector and the first of its kind in the northern region of the country.
“It was long-awaited, Now, it has become reality, as the state government and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development have been in close contact to bring it into existence,” it added.