The impacts of economic diversification drive of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is being felt in the mining sector, ABAH ADAH writes
When it became Nigeria’s turn to speak at the week-long African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa which ended a week ago, the minister, Mining and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, did not leave anyone present in doubt regarding Nigeria’s resolve to harness the economic potentials of its mining sub sector to the later when he rolled out the results of Nigeria’s new Airborne Electromagnetic Survey Results after telling the gathering that arrangements to set up a commission with the mandate of regulating mining activities in the country was underway. The minister, who disclosed this during the Nigeria Day at the event, did a formal presentation of Nigeria’s new Airborne Electromagnetic Survey results amid endorsements for the country’s mining sector reforms by mining experts, operators and developmental agencies.
The presentation of the results which was the high point of the event was witnessed by renowned stakeholders in global mining, including deputy minister of mines and minerals of Venezuela, Franklin Ramirez Araque; Australian ambassador to Nigeria, Paul Lehman, Nigerian high commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Ahmed Musa Ibeto and the permanent secretary of the ministry. Others include representatives of top mining conglomerates, mining nations such as Canada, Zambia, Angola, South Africa and Senegal. The minister, who reiterated government’s determination to strengthen regulation in the sector as well as ensure the improvement of its geological data, said the commission, when established would be known as the Nigerian Mining Commission, and would not only be the final authority on regulatory matters but also take charge of mining leases.
He said the law setting up the commission was already with the national assembly. Fayemi in an interactive session with investors and the media after his presentation, said the delivery of the geological data, was in line with government’s desire to ensure bankable geological data that would incentives to investors. He stated further that the ministry would undertake more extensive electromagnetic airborne geological survey of some promising parts of the country this year, as well as the completion of the National Mineral Database. “We want to ensure predictability, that is what we want to offer. We want to be a big mining designation.
“To achieve this, we have to put certain things in place, including provable data, sound regulations, capacity building for artisanal and small scale miners as well as asses to funding,” he said. He explained that while the mining circle was not the same as the electoral circle, it was important for government to put in place sound policies and reforms as well as bankable geological data that would make the Nigerian mining jurisdiction a major attraction. The minister also hinted on government’s determination to enhance its collaboration with the state governments and the host communities, a development which he said was being worked out administratively and through the establishment of the National Council on Mining and Minerals Development, where the states are playing active roles.
He was optimistic that the combination of the various reforms being put in place, inputs by the National Council on Mining and Minerals Resources Development and the Chamber of Mining would help to reposition the sector for better results. Top speakers who spoke on various aspects of the new electromagnetic survey results include Gaig Annison, director, Business Development, Compagnie Generale de Geophysique (CCG) Airborne Surveys PTY, Australia, who anchored the presentation. He described Nigeria as a nation taking very bold steps towards becoming a major mining destination. Other speakers include Tim Dobush, CEO Geosoft Inc, Thomas Weissmann of GSF AG, Germany, Hajia Fatima Umar Shinkafi, of the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF).
Also speaking at the event, Venezuela’s deputy minister of mines and minerals, Franklin Ramirez Araque, said the oil and gas rich country was also diversifying to mining in a bid to shore up its economy as Nigeria was doing, adding that the country has a lot to learn from Nigeria in its economic diversification efforts. Four major mining companies with operations in Nigeria- Promothean, Symbol Mining, Segilola and Africa International Mining Company – also gave testimonies in support of the current reforms in the Nigerian mining sector. Fayemi, last December disclosed that the ministry had secured the delivery of 26,000 line kilometer of electromagnetic data, following the payment of outstanding f
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