The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the East China Meteorological Institute on solid minerals exploration.
Acting Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, said the country cannot afford all the funding required for exploration and data in the sector.
He said though the country had earlier signed some MoUs, it is calling for more.
Speaking in Abuja at the MoU signing ceremony, he said: “This is a very important MoU, considering how important exploration and data is to the mining sector; this is the area we have been lagging behind and we intend to give attention to it. Because of the cost of exploration, government cannot do it alone and that is why we have been having discussions with other mining countries to assist Nigeria in the area of exploration.
“This is an addition to the MoUs we have been having with other countries; we have an MoU with the Shandong Province, with the Ministry of Land Resources in China, the government of Morocco, the government of South Africa and we welcome more of these MoUs particularly when it has to do with exploration.”
Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) Director-General, Alex Nwegbu said the Federal Government last year advertised for exploration, which it intended to fund but realised that it was too expensive and time consuming, a reason it invited competent stakeholders to partner.
He said: “We have known over the years that we are short in terms of valuable credible data on the mineral resources we have, so the Federal Government is embarking on a very ambitious program of generating data to bridge the gap of what is required for investors to show sufficient interest in the sector, the Federal Government has done the airborne, has done a lot of geological mapping but this is not enough, investors require more than that.
“Last year, the ministry advertised for exploration and this is to be funded by the government but we realised that exploration is very expensive and time consuming and that the Federal Government cannot do it alone and therefore we want to invite competent stakeholders who will assist government in generating this geoscience data.”