The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, has said that the nation is building a world-class mining sector that will be the toast of investors.
He made this statement during the commissioning of the Fire Assay Laboratory and Earthquake Monitoring Centre today (November 26) in Kaduna State.
“This commissioning is a testament to the impressive policy drive of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has put in extra funds into the sector to develop it,” he stated.
The laboratory is the first of its type in Nigeria and is considered the most reliable means for accurately determining the content of gold, silver and platinum-group metals in ores or concentrates.
The minister further noted that the laboratory was a crucial analytical infrastructure needed in the mining sector to accurately determine the concentrates of precious metals in ore, noting that the development was bound to take the mining sector to the next level.
In a statement by the minister’s special assistant on media, signed by Ayodeji Adeyemi, Adegbite said that the establishment of the laboratory was crucial to making the country a major mining destination.
“We now have the analytical facilities that can support the mining ecosystem in the country and this is bound to attract more foreign interest into the sector,” he said.
Adegbite also noted that the laboratory would save the country millions of dollars spent abroad analysing metal ores.
“With the establishment of a fire assay laboratory, we do not need to take metal ores out of the country to determine the level of concentrate of precious metals, thereby expending our scarce foreign exchange in other countries. This laboratory will free up resources, while serving as a revenue-generator for the government, as companies who want to mine precious metals will no longer need to send samples out of the country but now send them to our laboratory in Kaduna which would be a source of revenue generation for the government,” he stated.
The minister also thanked Buhari for his support to the mining sector, noting that his administration had allocated special intervention funds for the sector to enhance its geo-science data generation capacity.
“Indeed, we thank President Buhari for giving this sector the fillip and the push it deserves to become a choice mining destination in the mining world. No other administration has allocated the resources that this [one] has to the mining sector and for that we are grateful,” he said.
Speaking about the earthquake monitoring equipment, the minister noted that it is important for monitoring and measuring tremors.
Earlier in his remarks, the director-general, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba, said the establishment of a fire assay laboratory would enhance Nigeria’s status as a mining destination in the global mining world.
He further stated that it would save the country foreign exchange spent on conducting such analysis in other countries.
“With the commissioning of this laboratory, we can now analyse gold and platinum group metals. As a mineral analysis outfit, this would contribute immensely to the economic growth of the country as we save the nation foreign exchange that would have been spent on conducting the analysis abroad.
“Before now many foreign investors had made inquiries, asking if we have a fire assay laboratory that can support the mining sector in the country. With the establishment of one now, it is bound to be welcome news to foreign investors.”
Garba also revealed that some companies involved in the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) programme had spent millions of dollars to obtain such analysis outside the country.
“Two companies did fire assay analysis outside the country just to determine the metal content of what they are doing and spent about US$2million dollars. If half of that came into the NGSA we would have been able to have internally-generated revenue for the sector and saved capital flight,” he added.
The laboratory, owned by the National Geosciences Research Laboratory Centre Kaduna, is under the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, an agency of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.