Stakeholders advocate optimisation of mineral resources
Stakeholders in the mining sector, on Monday, advocated diversification of the solid minerals sector for improved revenue generation, job creation for economic growth.
They said access to credit by industry players in the sector was necessary to drive growth and the outcome of such efforts will benefit Nigerians.
The stakeholders spoke, in Abuja at a conference, organised by the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists (NSEG), with the theme: “Economic Diversification: the role of geoscientist, government and private sector”.
Addressing the stakeholders, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, said that there is an urgency to diversify Nigeria’s economy for the prosperity of the nation.
Adegbite, who was represented by the Director-General of Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), Obadiah Nkom, noted that the theme of the conference seeks to define the roles of the critical stakeholders in developing the minerals sector.
He said: “Nigeria’s mineral sector offers robust economic potential for diversification of the nation’s economy, yet the country and indeed, many other African Countries have continued to suffer under-utilization of their mineral resources.
“This has accounted for the slow phase of socio-economic development in Nigeria and many African countries. Our country is known to operate a mono economy where oil accounts for almost 90 per cent of the foreign exchange earnings. Present administration found this appalling and described the situation as unacceptable and promised to urgently find solutions to redress the challenges”, he said.
In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists (NSEG), Dr. Abdulrasaq Abubakar Garba, observed that there is need to diversify the Nigerian economy away from its sole dependence on crude oil by focusing more on other areas including the solid minerals and agricultural sectors to boost the wealth of the nation.
Garba said: “Our society is anxiously looking up to all in the sector to provide answers to some challenging economic development questions in order to put Nigeria on a true economic recovery path and take her to its greatness as a prosperous nation. This gathering is therefore expected to harvest the best knowledge to aggregate and articulate our thoughts on the way forward for our dear country.
“Economic geologists play vital roles across the entire mineral value chain from exploration to mining; and even during the post-mining phase as the issues of environment and land reclamation for sustainable use are addressed.
“Economic geologists also have to interface with interested stakeholders in obtaining social and mining permit licenses to operate while at the same time provide investors with the prerequisites to raise capital for mineral exploration and mining”, he said.
Also speaking, the President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Alabo Charles, explained that the Nigerian constitution gives the Federal Government control of all-natural resources.
He said: “The potential of the Mining sector to significantly contribute to Nigeria’s economy cannot be over-emphasized. The roadmap for the growth and development of the Nigerian mining industry highlights the potential for a progressive increase in the sector’s contribution to GDP over the next decades.”