FG plans collaboration with Belgium on mining
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has said that the ministry is open to collaborating with Belgium to develop the mining sector.
He said this is part of the efforts of the ministry to build a vibrant mining sector as part of the plans to diversify the economy.
The minister disclosed this while receiving the Belgian Ambassador, Daniel Bertrand, during a visit to the ministry in Abuja, yesterday. He said a Canadian company, Thor Exploration, has started producing gold in commercial quantities through the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state.
Adegbite, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, revealed that the country looked to export barite to some African countries.
He said: “Last year we launched the Nigerian barite to show that we can now produce barite that meets the API standard in our country. This will save us millions of dollars spent on importing barite every year and create jobs while leading to skill acquisition in some specific fields. We are also looking at the possibilities of eventually exporting barite to other African countries to earn revenues.
“Nigeria has a lot of gold and we are developing the sector to attract investment to the area. Nigeria is not just about oil and gas; we are richly endowed with diverse mineral assets in varying mixes and proven reserves.
“As we pursue our growth innovations through continued exploration, more mineral types and finds are being discovered. We can confirm that every zone in Nigeria has some minerals to bring to the national table of resource riches. As of today, about 44 minerals have been identified.”
The minister informed the ambassador about the mining-related clusters in the six geopolitical zones of the country, saying “these activities will boost the productivity of artisanal and small-scale mining, generate wealth and create employment opportunities for the youths.”
In his remarks, the ambassador expressed his country’s interest in the mining sector.
“I am just looking to see if there is any possibility of cooperation between both countries as your sector is concerned,” he said.