By CHIJIOKE OKORONKWO
ABUJA- President Muhammadu Buhari says the indices of development in the mining sector has improved as Nigeria, for the first time, has a world-class goldmine in Segiola, Osun State.
Buhari disclosed this on Tuesday in his address at the 6th Edition of the Nigerian Mining Week at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari said that the event was a significant complement of Federal Government’s effort to accelerate the growth of the mining sector as a major contributor to Nigeria’s economic diversification programme.
“ But we all know that the mining sector has always needed a transformational leap to contribute meaningfully to the envisioned economic growth of the country.
“Despite the glorious contribution of the mining sector to our national economy in the past, and the abundance of mineral resources found in almost every state of the Federation, the growth of the sector stagnated for many years especially since the early 1970s.
“ And there have been many notable efforts by previous administrations to wake the sleeping giant that is the mining industry, up.
“But at the beginning of our administration in 2015, we intentionally prioritised the development of the country’s mineral resources as one of the frontiers for economic growth.’’
He said the efforts in the sector led to the comprehensive Roadmap for the growth and development of the Nigerian mining sector, which had been steady.
The president said that so far, his administration had committed more resources to the development of the mining sector than any other government in the history of the country.
“And 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.
“Nigeria, for the first time, has a world-class gold mine in Segilola, Osun state, operated by Thor Exploration; also, Eta Zuma Mining and Industries Limited, Mosra Enerji are mining and supplying the coal needs of Dangote and Bua Cement factories.
“In the steel industry, African Natural Resources and Mines Limited, owners of the Kagarko Integrated Steel plant, is about to produce liquid steel from its Iron ore mine in Kaduna State.
“Several other investors are at different stages of mine development in various parts of the country, and these strategic milestones will hopefully catalyse more mining investment in the country,’’ he said.
Buhari said that the mining sector, when fully developed, would outstrip other sectors of the economy in export earnings, and the creation of good paying jobs and opportunities.
He added that the sector would stimulate industrial growth as a local source of raw material, and improve the quality of lives in rural communities.
The president commended the efforts of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, and other stakeholders in providing an enabling environment for investment.
On his part, Musa Muhammad, acting President, Miners Association of Nigeria, said the event provided an avenue to appraise and strengthen the sector.
“The platform of the Nigerian Mining Week has been utilised over the years, to do a wholesome critique of the national mining ecosystem vis a vis the challenges, stages of development, the potential and emerging opportunities, and the ways forward.
“However, in spite of the fact that some of the legacy challenges are yet unresolved and new ones emerging, there are quite some notable developments and strides being driven by a regulatory ministry and its agencies,’’ Muhammad said.
Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of Mines and Steel Development; Ahmad Lawan, Senate President, represented by Sen. Tanko Al-Makura, were among other notable speakers at the conference.
The highpoint of the event was the inauguration of the on-line innovation, the Electronic Mining Cadastre Plus by the president.
The president, afterwards, cut the exhibition ribbon and toured the exhibition floor. (NAN)