By Ikenna Uwadileke
President Bola Tinubu has expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to develop the mining sector by creating an enabling environment for players in the industry to thrive.
The president said this at the opening of the 8th edition of Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, Tinubu expressed worry that the mining sector was neglected for a long time.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mining week serves as a networking platform for stakeholders in the industry to showcase the huge potential in Nigeria’s mining industry.
The event with the theme “Capitalising on Nigeria’s Critical Mineral Resources for its Growth”, had more than 1,500 participants.
According to Tunubu, the theme underscores Federal Government’s commitment to sustainable development and collaboration within the mining industry.
He said that the devolution of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development demonstrated Federal Government’s resolve to improve its contributions to the development of Nigeria’s economy.
“Government shall continue to ensure good business environment for investors 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 potential,” the president said.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake pledged that the ministry would develop the mining sector as a significant source of economic diversification.
“We charted a new direction with the articulation of the Seven-Point Transformation Agenda focusing on establishment of the national mining company and development of big, standardised and internationally certified data.
“Others are formalisation of artisanal mining through co-operatives and security of mines in collaboration with the security agencies.
“`Also the conscientisation of mining communities to ensure their lawful rights and commit licences to community empowerment and the strategic promotions of our country’s vast mineral deposits for indigenous and international investments.’’ He said.
Alake hailed stakeholders’ enthusiasm in the solid minerals sector in embracing the ideas and proposing many pathways to achieving the roadmap.
“This has led to several collaborations and initiatives across the landscape.
“The dedication to diversifying Nigeria’s economy through mining align perfectly with our shared goals and I am confident that the culmination of this event will continue to lead us toward a prosperous future,’’ he said.
The minister said that Nigeria was set for a great leap of transformation by harnessing the solid mineral resources judiciously.
“If we manage these resources judiciously and responsibly, they can serve as the engine of our economic growth, offering employment opportunities and enhancing the well-being of our citizens.
“Nigeria is endowed with valuable solid minerals like Limestone, Gold, Baryte, Bitumen, lead zinc, Coal, and Iron Ore, to mentionq a few.
“This natural wealth indicates a significant reservoir poised for exploration and development.
“These resources can potentially reduce our dependence on oil revenues, diversify our economic base, serve as the bedrock of sustainable development across various sectors and provide significant job creation opportunities,’’ the minister said.
He, however, said that the vision for the mining sector transcended 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 minimise ecological footprint.
“As we promote responsible and developmental extraction, we propagate value addition across the value chain as the essential principle of mineral development,’’ Alake said.
Similarly, the Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu emphasised the need for Nigeria to unleash the immense potential in the solid mineral sector
“We are not merely celebrating the potential today, we are recognising them as the driving force behind the economic growth that is at the heart of President Bola Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda.
“In our country, we are endowed with an array of critical minerals such as coal, tin, lead, limestone, and iron ore, among many others.
“These resources, if properly harnessed, hold the key to not only diversifying our economy but also significantly increasing our revenue streams.
“They are the bedrock upon which we can build a more prosperous, self-sufficient, and industrially advanced Nigeria.
“Allow me to emphasise the pivotal role of the steel sector in this journey towards revitalising our economy.
“Steel, as we know, is the backbone of industrialisation. 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.
“It is on this heel that we have set out motions to diversify Nigeria’s economy and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) by transforming the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCOL) complex into a Free Trade Zone.
“This includes the designation of 24,000-hectare land of Ajaokuta as an Industrial Park,’’ the minister said.
He said that the initiative aims at revitalising the steel industry, create jobs, and stimulate economic growth in the region thus creating an industrial park in the the city.
“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,” Audu said.
The President of Miners Association of Nigeria, Dele Ayanleke said that articulate management of constitutional and legal challenges would provide workable template for streamlining legal and regulatory frameworks that would accelerate the growth of the sector.
The Event Director, VUKA Group, South Africa, Mr Samukelo Madlabane said the event would serve as a stimulus for sustainable development, investment and cooperation within the mining industry.
“This is with an emphasis on maximising Nigeria’s mining potential, especially for its critical minerals,’’ Madlabane said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams