Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has said that active involvement of the private sector in mining is fundamental to its growth to generate funds.
Adegbite who said this yesterday, in Abuja, noted that involving the private sector in mining is crucial to the growth of the industry, as mining is capital intensive and has a gestation period.
He further said that his ministry has included the private sector in its 2007 Amendment Act that is currently at the National Assembly.
The minister explained that the solid mineral development fund that was established by the federal government to cater for mining activities was grossly under-funded.
“It was to be funded with N200 billion but unfortunately it has not been funded adequately since it was established,” he said.
Speaking on the status of Bitumen exploration, Adegbite said many investors have declared interest in minerals from all over the world.
“We are preparing for that by the last quarter of the year, we are looking at sometime in September when the advertisement will be out for interested investors to apply.
“We are looking at the bidding process to start by October and the winner of bitumen blocs will be announced and the whole process of Bitumen mining will start,” he said.
Recall that Nigeria has large deposits of Bitumen in Lagos, Ondo, Edo and Ogun states.