ABUJA – Mr Musa Sada, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said mining sector needed continuity of policies and guidelines to ensure its development in the country.
The minister said this on Thursday in Abuja when Mr Demola Gbadegesin, the Managing Director, Promethean Resources Ltd, briefed him on the mining operations of the company.
The minister said that studies had shown that intermittent changes in government seemed to have affected the progress of the solid minerals sector.
He said following this development, the Federal Government had set up plans to develop some sustainable processes, to ensure institutionalisation of its operations.
Sada said that the mineral title (Licence) administration was one area set up to ensure ownership of the mines, as it was the main item of the ownership of the business in mining.
Sada said government had developed roadmap for the sector based on policy thrust, value addition, import substitution and job creation, to promote modern mining practices, natural resources conservation and visibility of private sector.
He said that the roadmap could be reviewed from time to time to make the country a mining destination through generation of credible geosciences data and others.
Sada said that the study of countries doing well in mining had shown that the sector had been the main stay of any nation’s economy.
He said that the government had plans to diversify from crude oil to solid minerals for multi economy, revenue generation and employment generation.
“The government had made a pronouncement, wishing to diversify the economy and had picked the mining sector as one of the areas to use to move away from petroleum.
“The petroleum had been the major source of revenue for the country.’’
He said mining needed knowledge, skills, patience and doing things right, to move the sector forward.
He added that at every stage of the development, one needed to make a good assessment of the risk as a way to achieve a result.
The minister said the country needed corporate entities to reduce the cases of illegal mining in the country, adding that right now, the country was at the stage of establishing corporate entities in the sector.
“We have started addressing issues of illegal mining, environment and devastation to the point where minerals title administrations are established to address it.’’
“The best way to address the issue of illegal mining is to have corporate entities to create employment, to absolve illegal miners.
“The reason why illegal miners got involved in the act was because they have no job.’’
Presenting a paper titled “Restoring Nigeria’s Tin Industry’’, Gbadegesin said so far the company had invested over 20 million dollars in its tin mining operations in the country.
He said the company had been producing high grade concentrate of tin from its operations at Gurmu in Bauchi State, and would soon establish two other sites to begin production of tin.
He said the company currently had a plan to export 100 tonnes of tin per month but intended to increase it to 500 tonnes at the end of the year.
“At the end of this year, we are expected to have six sites in operations.
“More than 90 per cent of our workforces are Nigerians. We are big drivers of employment and planning to employ more in future.
Gbadegesin said Nigeria had a history of producing various minerals resources in the past with world class resources where tin was one of them.
“There is a long history of mining of tin in Nigeria and that was the reason why the British first came to Nigeria. These sources are still there and more importantly the data is there too.
“Mining is a business that is based on a data. The more information you have the more sourceful you are.’’
He said the company was still conducting visibility studies and intended to complete the project in about 18 months.
The managing director appealed to government to waive import duties on mining equipment, and access to power supply to mining companies.
Gbadegesin urged government to create easy access to funding windows from Central Bank of Nigeria, real sector support facilities, Bank of Industry, Nigeria Export-Import Bank and Sovereign Wealth Fund.
He said tin was used for tin can for food packaging, auto assembly plants, electronics, automotive and telecom equipment assembly, among others.
Gbadegesin said that over 350,000 tonnes of tin is consumed annually worldwide with a value of over seven billion dollars. (NAN)
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