By Palma Ileye
Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has restated commitments to develop the Solid Minerals value chain saying that the Mining sector has been neglected for a long time while emphasizing the need to boost the sector for economic growth, development and sustainability.
Giving the assurance of developing the Mining value chain and creating an enabling environment for all players in the industry to thrive at the 8th edition of the Nigeria Mining Week held at the International Conference Centre, ICC, in Abuja Tinubu who was represented by the Secretary to the Federal Government, SGF, Senator George Akume, described the event as a networking platform for the stakeholders in the Mining industry to showcase the huge potential in the Nigeria Mining industry.
According to him: “This year’s themes underscores Federal Government’s commitment to sustainable development, and collaboration within the Mining industry, with a special focus on maximizing Nigeria’s mining potential, while stating that the devolution of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development was in order to demonstrate the resolve of the Federal Government’s commitment to improve its contributions to the development of the economy of the country.”
He said that the present administration has observed huge profits recorded through the export of crude mineral resources which has improved the life or the nation.
“Government shall continue to ensure a good business environment for investors to invest in the sector by ensuring policy consistency, and adequate security.
“Nigeria is known for its oil and gas, which is a fraction of its blessed natural resources and there is a need for Nigeria and Africa at large to diversify and develop other sectors to harness their potentials,” he added.
Also the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Oladele Alake at the Mining Week event said that Nigeria was endowed with valuable solid minerals like Limestone, Gold, Baryte, Bitumen, Lead-Zinc, Coal, and Iron Ore, to mention but a few saying that this natural wealth indicates a significant reservoir poised for exploration and development.
He noted that these resources can potentially reduce the country’s dependence on oil revenues, diversify economic base, serve as the bedrock of sustainable development across various sectors, and provide significant job creation opportunities.
Recent years have witnessed commendable efforts to revitalize the Mining Sector.
He stated that, “We have worked diligently to streamline regulatory processes, create an attractive investment climate, and instill confidence in domestic and international investors. These efforts have borne fruit through strategic partnerships that recognize the immense potential within our borders.
“These partnerships will be pivotal in building a sustainable and globally competitive mining industry.
“Our vision for the Mining Sector transcends mere resource extraction. We are firmly committed to conducting mining activities that are environmentally sustainable, socially responsible, and economically beneficial. We believe mining operations should serve as catalysts for community development and job creation and adhere to Industry Best Practices that minimize ecological footprint.
“As we promote responsible and developmental extraction, we propagate value addition across the value chain as the essential principle of mineral development.”
On the development of the Solid Minerals sector, the Minister said: “I want to share with you a few strategic focus areas that shall be the hallmark of this Administration’s drive to sustainably drive the Mining Sector to increase its contribution to the nation’s GDP significantly; A National Mining Company to maximise; Elevating Nigeria’s Mining Sector Through Beneficiation and Value-Addition, Emphasizing beneficiation and value addition in Nigeria’s mining sector is paramount to maximizing the long-term benefits of our mineral resources. By adding value to our raw materials through processes like refining, processing, and manufacturing, we not only create higher-value products but also generate employment opportunities and increase the sector’s overall profitability.”
He explained, “Moreover, value addition enhances the global competitiveness of our mineral products, attracting higher market prices and foreign investment. It also fosters innovation and technology transfer, positioning Nigeria as a hub for advanced mineral processing and beneficiation expertise.
“In embracing beneficiation, we are not only safeguarding our nation’s economic future but also ensuring that the wealth generated from our abundant mineral resources is equitably shared among our citizens and contributes to sustainable development.”
Furthermore he stressed that it was essential to mention that to give effect to the Implementation of the Value Addition Policy, the Ministry of Solid Minerals shall, from henceforth, only encourage companies who seek mining licenses to show Proof of Concept and Business Plans for Value-Addition for the various mineral commodities they intend to explore and mine in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu said that the Nigeria Mining Week, was a momentous event that signifies the critical path to harnessing the abundant mineral resources that Nigeria has been blessed with.
He said that the theme for this year’s Nigeria Mining Week, “Capitalizing on Nigeria’s critical mineral resources for its economic growth,” was not just a slogan; it was a clarion call for unleashing the immense potentials that lie beneath the country’ soil noting that, “We are not merely celebrating these potentials today; we are recognizing them as the driving force behind the economic growth that is at the heart of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda for our beloved nation.”
He explained that the country, was endowed with an array of critical minerals such as coal, tin, lead, limestone, and iron ore, among many others pointing out the these resources, if properly harnessed, holds the key to not only diversifying the country’s economy but also significantly increasing the revenue streams.
Emphasizing that, they were the bedrock upon which we can build a more prosperous, self-sufficient, and industrially advanced Nigeria.
He further emphasized the pivotal role of the Steel sector in this journey towards revitalizing our economy saying that, “Steel, as we know, is the backbone of industrialization. It is a core ingredient for infrastructure development, manufacturing, and construction. Our commitment to developing the steel sector is unwavering because it holds the potential to create numerous jobs, attract investments, and contribute significantly to our Gross Domestic Product.”
He further explained that, “It is on this heel that we have set out motions to diversify Nigeria’s economy and attract Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, by transforming the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, ASCOL, complex into a Free Trade Zone, and designation of 24,000-hectare land of Ajaokuta as an Industrial Park. This strategic initiative aims to revitalize the steel industry, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth in the region thus creating an industrial park in the ancient city of Ajaokuta.
“This is in addition to the development of a three-year plan for Ajaokuta, and a broader five-year plan to expand steel production to other parts of the country. This comprehensive approach aims to harness Nigeria’s vast iron ore resources and leverage them for industrial growth.
“As we embark on this monumental task, we carry the hopes and aspirations of a nation eager to harness the immense potential of its steel sector on our shoulders. The journey may be challenging, but it is a journey toward a brighter, more industrially empowered Nigeria.”
He also enjoined all to remember that the possibilities were vast and the opportunities boundless saying that, “We must collectively work towards creating an enabling environment for mining operations, ensuring that the industry was adequately regulated, and encouraging responsible practices that respect our environment and our communities.”
He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Solid Minerals Development for successfully hosting the event adding that it was, without a doubt, an indispensable platform for networking, knowledge exchange, and the furtherance of our mining sector’s potential.