The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite has revealed that plans are underway for the establishment of the Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF) Establishment Act which will empower the agency to source funds from the private sector.
Speaking during the presentation of two batches of equipment by the SMDF executive secretary, Hajiya Fatima Shinkafi, Adegbite said the establishment act will aid the organisation in performing its statutory function to equip the mining departments and agencies and to enable the ministry to perform its oversight and supervisory role.
The minister commended the leadership of the agency, for the procurement of the equipment which would help the ministry’s officers at the field to identify the right amount and quantity of specific minerals.
“The SMDF is fulfilling one of its obligations to the department and the ministry. And I think we should develop on this so that there can be total synergy. Arising from what we are planning for SMDF to have an act and to empower them to get their funds. Once we can do this, it would be greatly beneficial for all of us as they would be in the position to raise funds even outside government from the private sector. Of course, it can only be beneficial to the sector as a whole as they support the ministry to carry out its functions and oversight and supervisory function and helping the miners out there to fulfil their aim,” he said.
Adegbite further said that the knowledge acquired by the various departments in the ministry such as mining inspectorate (MI), artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), mine environmental compliance (MEC) would be made available to the SMDF.
“It should also be that the knowledge we acquire from the field from MI, ASM, IPMT, MEC is availed to SMDF, so that they can be used to tailor some of their products. It should be symbiotic, win-win for all,” he stated.
Earlier in her remarks, Shinkafi said the fund was just performing its statutory function of equipping mining institutions, enabling them to perform their roles. The equipment delivered was Niton™ DXL Precious Metal Analyzer and Mettler Toledo Precision Analytical Balance.
In a statement by the special assistant on media to the minister, Ayodeji Adeyemi, Shinkafi noted that the equipment would help the departments perform the duties excellently.
“The Niton DXL precious metal analyser will enable a non-destructive analysis of metals with near-instantaneous results. It is exceptionally fast, easy to use, results appear in seconds on a bright, touch-screen colour display. It requires no harsh chemicals or acids that can burn your fingers, ruin clothing and damage countertops. Faster, more comprehensive analysis than fire assay, with comparable accuracy.
“The assay machine also eliminates the need for density test that is crude and inaccurate. The instruments that we are presenting today will enable the determination of the purity and weight of golds in seconds. So, we are presenting today both assaying instruments and precision weighing instruments. We are confident that these instruments will support the ministry’s ASM clusters across the country with these types of equipment,” she added.