A fully developed mines and steel sector will not only surpass other sectors of the economy in terms of export earnings, it will also create more lucrative jobs and opportunities for many Nigerians, according to President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari, who was represented by vice president Yemi Osinbajo, stated this yesterday at the opening of the 6th Edition of the Nigerian Mining Week in Abuja, where he was the Special Guest of Honour.
The Mining Week is a three-day event hosted by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and organised by the Miners Association of Nigeria in collaboration with PwC Nigeria, Vuka Group and Mining Review Africa. The event brings together stakeholders in entire mining value chain.
In a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande, he said the steel sector will stimulate industrial growth as a local source of raw materials and improve the quality of lives in rural communities.
Osinbajo disclosed that since the Administration came into office in 2015, it has “intentionally prioritised the development of the country’s mineral resources as one of the frontiers for economic growth.
“This led to the comprehensive Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Sector and we have steadily followed the steps set out in the roadmap. So far, we can say without fear of contradiction that this administration has committed more resources to the development of the mining sector than any other government in the history of this country,” the Vice President said.
Noting some of the milestones recorded by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Prof. Osinbajo also commended the efforts of the Minister, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, and other stakeholders in providing a conducive environment for investment.
The VP also noted that the organisation of informal miners into productive work groups is another landmark activity for the Ministry.
“The Ministry has increased the formalisation of mining activities and stimulated downstream development by the establishment of a gemstones and Jewellery Marketing Centre in Oyo State, Gold Ore processing plant in Kogi State, a Gold Souk in Kano State, and the construction of a Barite plant in Cross River State, as well as Kaoline plant in Bauchi State and a Lead/Zinc processing plant in Ebonyi State.”
He added that the “aim of these clusters is to provide direct and indirect economic opportunities for many Nigerians,” the VP added.
Speaking further, he added that the Buhari administration’s commitment towards developing the country’s mining sector had continued to record significant gains over the years.
“We are proud that the indices of development in the sector are rapidly changing. Part of these is the increased revenue generation and, of course, the unprecedented investment interest that the industry has attracted in the past few years.
For instance, the VP noted that “Nigeria, for the first time, has a world-class gold mine in Segilola, Osun State, operated by Thor Exploration, while Eta Zuma Mining and Industries Limited and Mosra Enerji Limited are mining and supplying the coal needs of Dangote and Bua Cement factories.”
The Vice President emphasized that the development of the steel sector remains a huge priority for the administration.
According to him “our vision for an industrialised nation cannot be achieved without a vibrant steel sector. We understand the huge demand for steel and iron in our domestic markets and across the sub-region. This is why we prioritized the resolution of all the issues constraining the full operation of the Ajaokuta Steel company. “
In his remarks, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, noted that environmental impact was critical in sustainable mineral development.
He said, “Government has maintained a consistent environmental surveillance and green mining practices to ensure minimum damage to the environment. The Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) has been strengthened and the Ministry is keeping constant dialogue with committees in almost all the states of the country.
“The Committees have the responsibility of monitoring mining activities in the states including addressing issues of compensation and community relations.”
At the event, the vice president also commissioned the on-line innovation, the Electronic Mining Cadastre Plus of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office.
Speaking on the Electronic Mining Cadastre system (EMC), the director-general of Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, Engr Obadiah Simon Nkom, said it will it help in the ease of doing business, encourage foreign investment due to transparency, and revolutionise the mining cadastre administration.
The VP was then accompanied by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, as well as the Minister of State, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, round the exhibition stands, where he interacted and engaged with the participants and exhibitors.
Dignitaries at the event included Senator Tanko Al-Makura who represented the Senate President, among others.