The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has stressed its commitment to ensure the sector generates data that can help both local and foreign mining investors access available minerals in the country.
Alhaji Abubakar Bwari, the Minister of State of the ministry made this known at the Inception Meeting and Presentation by Contractors of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Projects (NIMEP) Under Natural Resources Fund on Tuesday in Abuja.
Bwari said that generating the data would enable the government to revamp the sector to make Nigeria more competitive and become a mining nation.
“This event is further proof that under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has discovered the political will to reposition the country by growing other sectors of the economy
“This is a private sector driven project, but we decided to embark on this exploration project to generate the sort of critical information that can spur investment in the sector,” he said.
According to him, the key objective of these exploration projects is to rapidly generate integrated geosciences information in Greenfield and Brownfield settings.
“This will not only make our resources more attractive, but will go a long way in helping us achieve our mandate which include increasing the sector’s contribution to the GDP, and creating wealth along the mineral value chain, among others.
“It is in fulfillment of these that the Federal Government flagged off this project in September and subsequently set up a seven-man ministerial committee to implement and monitor it.”
The minister said that the committee was given the mandate to ensure strict compliance with the terms of reference, oversee the implementation and management of technical aspects of the projects.
According to him, the committee is mandated to remove any bureaucratic bottlenecks that may arise and liaise with the ministry to ensure timely release of funds in line with the levels of job completion and contract agreement.
“It may interest you to know that this project is the first of its kind in the country and is designed along typical exploration phases with time-bound deliverable.
” This inception meeting is therefore one of a series of meetings we will be having to examine the outcomes of each phase for wider stakeholders participation.
“Today’s event is therefore meant to present the outputs of the desk-work studies done by the contractors before they resume field work.”
Bwari said that the integrated exploration project embarked upon by the ministry under the Natural Resource Fund could therefore not have come at a better time than now when the world was becoming interested in Nigeria’s mining.
“Let me allay the fears of title holders and other stakeholders whose titles fall within the project area that their interests will be fully protected as the results of the exploration will further enrich their properties.”
Alhaji Sani Shehu, the President Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) said that the project was timely as the association would benefit from it and would also attract foreign mining investors.