The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Oladele Alake has emphasised that Nigeria’s abundant solid minerals can serve as a vital tool for resurrecting the nation’s economy. He affirmed that the present administration is shifting its focus away from hydrocarbons towards harnessing the potential of solid minerals.
Alake made this proclamation during a courtesy visit to his office by the Association of Licensed Small Scale Miners (ALSSM), led by its president, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Expanding on his statement, the minister explained that the ministry has implemented several deliberate policies and programs aimed at achieving its objectives for economic prosperity. These initiatives are outlined in the recently released roadmap to the public. Alake stressed the importance of establishing the Solid Minerals Corporation and promoting public-private ventures to ensure sustainability, increase government revenue, and significantly contribute to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Alake also underscored the significance of investor security in achieving the ministry’s vision of revitalising and sanitising the minerals sector. This effort aligns with the present administration’s renewed hope agenda, aiming to maximise the sector’s contribution to the nation’s socio-economic development. To this end, the minister announced the ministry’s commitment to establishing a multi-agency task force to combat the activities of illegal miners and their collaborators. He warned foreign operators involved in illegal mining and those sponsoring banditry to desist or face the full force of the law.
Furthermore, the minister clarified that the government’s 30-day grace period for illegal miners is not punitive but intended to formalise and legitimise their activities. The aim is to streamline and structure small-scale artisanal miners to maximise their contributions to the Federal Government.
Ajala explained that their visit was to celebrate Alake’s appointment as Minister for Solid Minerals Development. During the visit, the association presented ideas and suggestions to the ministry, focusing on improving data synergy between the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) and the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA). These proposals aim to advance and grow the sector for the socio-economic development of the country.