President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has given the rationale for the administration’s intentional prioritisation of the development of Nigeria’s mineral resources as one of the frontiers for economic development.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Nigeria Mining Week (NMW2022) organised by the Miners Association of Nigeria, PwC, The Vuka Group and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (FMMSD), yesterday (November 1, 2022) in Abuja, the president said the sector can be a major contributor to Nigeria’s economic diversification programme.
According to him, this development has led to the comprehensive roadmap for the growth and development of the Nigerian mining sector for which the Federal Government has steadily followed the steps set out in the roadmap.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari lamented that despite the glorious contribution of the mining sector to the national economy in the past and the abundance of mineral resources found in almost every state of the Federation, the growth of the sector stagnated for many years, especially since the early ‘70s.
He noted that there have been many notable efforts by previous administrations to wake up the sleeping giant that is the mining industry.
Buhari, however, added that “so far, we can say without fear of contradiction that this administration has committed more resources to the development of the mining sector than any other government in the history of this country.
“We are proud that the indices of development in the sector are rapidly changing. Part of these is the increased revenue generation and, of course, the unprecedented investment interest that the industry has attracted in the past few years. Nigeria, for the first time, has a world-class gold mine in Segilola, Osun State, operated by Thor Exploration. Also, Eta Zuma Mining and Industries Limited, as well as Mosra Enerji are mining and supplying the coal needs of Dangote and Bua Cement factories.
“In the steel industry, African Natural Resources and Mines Limited – owners of the Kagarko Integrated Steel plant – is about to produce liquid steel from its iron ore mine in Kaduna State. Several other investors are at different stages of mine development in various parts of the country and these strategic milestones will, hopefully, catalyse more mining investments in the country. I firmly believe that when fully developed, the sector will outstrip other sectors of the economy in export earnings and create good jobs and opportunities. Besides, it will stimulate industrial growth as a local source of raw materials and improve the quality of lives in rural communities,” he added.
Buhari further said that the development of the steel sector is still a huge priority of the current administration.
The president stated that the administration’s vision for an industrialised nation cannot be achieved without a vibrant steel sector.
“We understand the huge demand for steel and iron in our domestic markets and across the sub-region. This is why we prioritised the resolution of all the issues constraining the full operation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company. To this end, a transaction adviser has been appointed to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company Itakpe. The selection process is ongoing. Our commitment is to break the jinx and actualise the dream of a vibrant steel sector,” he added.
In his address, the acting national president of the Miners Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Musa Muhammad noted that the platform of Nigeria Mining Week has been utilised over the years to critique the national mining ecosystem wholesomely.
“The association, on behalf of our partners, will like to express its profound gratitude to the leadership of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and all its agencies for not only being the worthy host of this annual forum but alluding to and galvanising our thoughts, yearnings and aspirations.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilenka Adegbite said one of the priorities of his administration is to reposition the mining sector within the framework of the economic diversification policy, to become one of the frontiers of sustainable economic growth for Nigeria.
Adegbite added that the ministry has contributed immensely to increased government revenue.
“Government revenues increased from N2billion in 2015 to over N7billion in 2021, indicating a major increase in mining activities.
“We shall intensify our efforts to work to make our mining sector more competitive in the global mining space and to satisfy the needs of our domestic global goals. We shall prioritise the development of critical minerals required in clean energy transition and reduction in greenhouse permission to zero.”