By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed pride that the development in the mining sector is fast evolving.
The President stated this while declaring open the ceremony of the 6th edition of the Nigerian Mining Week which began in Abuja today.
According to President Buhari, who was represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbanjo “I firmly believe that the sector, when fully developed, will outstrip other sectors of the economy in export earnings, and the creation of good paying jobs and opportunities. Besides, it will stimulate industrial growth as a local source of raw materials and improve the quality of life in rural communities
He said “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 the first time, Nigeria has a world-class gold mine in Segilola, Osun state, operated by Thor Exploration.
“I must also say that this event is a very significant complement to our vision and sustained effort to accelerate the growth of the mining sector as a major contributor to Nigeria’s economic diversification programme” he said
The President added that the mining sector had always needed a transformational leap to contribute meaningfully to the envisioned economic growth of the country, because 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.
Recalling that in 2015 they 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. “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 President commended the efforts of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and other stakeholders in providing a conducive environment for investment. Some of the thematic activities that have been delivered include:
While noting that the extraction of mineral commodities entails considerable impact on land, water, air, and other environmental assets that are central to human living both now and in the future, he said the painful experience of the negative impact of oil and gas exploitation in the Niger Delta cannot be ignored. Therefore, all operators in the mining sector are obliged by law ethics, and our responsibility for the future is to ensure that proper environmental, social, and governance principles are practiced in the sector.
He reiterated that his administration would continue to intensify its regulatory and supervisory role in ensuring that mining is held to the highest standards of sustainable development and intergenerational equity.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development has said government revenues Increased from N2b to N7b from 2015 to 2021 respectively.
In his words “Government Revenues increased from two billion Naira in 2015 to over seven billion in 2021 indicating a major increase in mining activities in the field
He added that “With the unprecedented support and direction of President and the National Assembly, the Ministry has recorded some significant achievements that has defined a growth trajectory for the Nigeria Mining Sector which include the Up-grade and Automation of the Mining Cadastre Office and the creation of Zonal Offices in all the Geopolitical zones in the country, Generation of Geological and Exploration Data to improve investment competitiveness, Application of Digital Processes in the Governance of the Sector, Advancing the formalization of information mining operations in Nigeria. Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining operations constitute over 80% of Nigeria’s mining and improve the Environmental Impact. Environmental impact is critical in sustainable mineral development among others
He recalled that despite that this administration inherited some key legacy issues that are fundamental to the growth of the Mining Sector. The Ministry crystallised various strategies to address the lack of geological data, weak institutional capacity to govern the sector, low revenue generation, informal mining and community issues, and the protracted litigations on the nation’s steel assets.
In his remarks, the Acting President, of the Miners Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Musa Muhammed recalled that the last convergence of the NMW was in 2019
He said the platform of the Nigeria Mining Week has been utilized over the years to do a wholesome critique of the national mining ecosystem, viz: the challenges, stages of development, the potentials and emerging opportunities, and the ways forward.
He added that despite the challenges in the sector, they had witnessed an appreciable increase in sectoral contributions to the GDP; Increased interest of foreign investors due to the verifiable geological data being generated by the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP), of the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency and Standardization of the Nigerian Barite to meet up with global specifications; among others