The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, says Nigeria is aggressively pushing the frontiers for the development of its mining industry as part of efforts to find alternative sources of wealth.
This he said has led to a number of innovations in the sector which includes strengthened policies and institutional frameworks for investors to achieve ease of mining business in Nigeria.
Speaking Monday in Abuja, at pre-conference of the 2018 Nigeria Mining Week, Bawa informed that the Nigerian government has released funds from the dedicated Natural Resources Development Fund for the generation and provision of necessary geosciences data to attract investors.
“Indeed, five exploration works contracts and consulting services for gold and platinum group metals; Rare Earth Metals; Base Metals; Barytes; and Iron Ore, were recently awarded through competitive bidding to carry out resource mapping for potential mineral prospects,” he said.
He also informed participants at the conference that the Electro-magnetic survey data for three highly prospective gold and lead zinc zones have also been acquired and are available for interested investors.
The ongoing 3rd Nigeria Mining Week is organised by the Miners Association of Nigeria in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Spintelligent.
Speaking further, the minister added that the ongoing construction of the 3,035MW Mambila Hydro-power Plant will boost economic activities in the zone of blue sapphire and bauxite.
To consolidate it’s efforts, Bawa informed the conference that there is an ongoing upgrade and automation of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office for online applications; construction of modern archiving system that would facilitate the dissemination of high quality pre-competitive geodata information and the upgrade of Nigeria Geological Survey Agency Laboratory to ISO standard.
He stated further that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is focused on removing challenges hindering the formal exploitation of gold, tin and lead-zinc while stopping the indiscriminate exports of these mineral commodities to foreign smelters.
“To this end, a new Export Guidelines for the Export of Mineral Commodities has been developed to ease challenges surrounding the granting of export permits and other licencing issues,” Bawa informed the delegates.
“As a result of these developments we discovered a renewed interest in formal mining in Nigeria and the number of mineral titles held by serious investors is on the rise,” he added.
Despite the gains so far recorded, Bawa said government would continue to collaborate with universities in the area of research into critical areas to generate valuable data.
While commending the event organisers, the minister noted that the Mining Week seeks to repositioning the Nigerian mining sector as one of the frontiers of the country’s economic diversification by returning the country to the world mining map.