STAKEHOLDERS in the mining sector argue that Nigeria is vastly endowed with a lot of mineral resources and underscore the need for the creation of a pragmatic roadmap for their development and sustainable exploitation.
In January 2013, the Federal Government announced a roadmap for solid minerals’ development and economists laud the plan as a pragmatic effort to grow and diversify the nation’s economy. Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) urged the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to ensure that the roadmap was utilised by foreign and local investors in the solid minerals sector so as to achieve better results.
Economists believe that the roadmap will tackle some challenges facing mining operations such as inadequate geosciences data, which is needed to facilitate comprehensive minerals’ exploration by the private sector.
The minister noted that although the roadmap had been implemented in some parts of the country, its full implementation had been hindered by factors such as poor funding, security issues and inadequate infrastructural facilities at mines sites.
Nevertheless, Malam Muhammad Amate, the Director-General of Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office, said that the office had been working hard to address the challenges. He said that four foreign companies would soon begin the mining of gold and iron ore in Kebbi, Osun and Kogi. He also said more than 20 foreign companies from Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, China, Republic of Niger, India, South Africa and Ukraine had obtained exploration licences to carry out solid minerals’ exploration across the country. Amate stressed that the office had issued more than 4,000 mineral titles from 2011 to date, while generating N2.2billion income via the issuance of titles to mining companies during the period.
Mr Utsu Adie, the Chairman of Solid Minerals Development Fund, said that the strategic critical success factor of the roadmap was its capacity to attract investments into the solid minerals sector. “The agency is discussing with the International Mining for Development Centre, an initiative supported by the Australian government, to provide training and capacity building in mining, geology, environment, laboratory training
and mineral processing,’’ he said.
The experts insist that the roadmap will reposition the solid minerals sector and strengthen it to foster the growth of the national economy.