Experts want government’s commitment to mining sector
The Materials Science and Technology Society of Nigeria (MSN) on Tuesday commenced a three-day conference aimed at moving the mining sector forward.
The event also witnessed the promotion and sale of The Guardian newspaper, under the auspices of the Nigerian Material Congress (NIMACON). Participants bought about 600 copies.
Chairman of the occasion and MSN’s Board of Trustees chairman, Kunle Ogunade, called on the Federal Government to legalise the activities of local miners in the country rather than arrest them.
He said government must encourage miners to use local technology, adding: “The Minister of Science and Technology and MSN could come to their aid in order to mine, as much as possible, all the minerals that are under the ground.”
He said: “This country is endowed with numerous mineral resources that are not tapped. It is about time we looked inward and went back and made effort to make more money than we have, even from crude oil.”
Lamenting drawbacks in the country’s mining sector, Ogunade, said stumbling blocks hindering foreign investment in the country included too many conditions and modalities, “too many paper works, too much royalties.”
He added: “The atmosphere for investment in the country is not really helpful. Therefore, as a nation, we really need to attract foreign investors.”
The theme of the conference, which was held in Zaria, Kaduna State, was: “Engineering Materials and Solid Minerals Development – a panacea to National Economic Diversification.”
In his address, the Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, explained reasons there is no thriving mining industry in Nigeria. He said to revive the sector, the nation had to “generate more and reliable geoscience data, promote geoscience research to demonstrate prospectivity of the Nigerian geological terrain, provide efficient and effective mining sector governance in mineral rights management and minefield inspection and control.”
The National President of the MSN, Prof. Salaudeen Ahmed, said the theme of the conference was appropriate, coming at a time the country was facing serious economic challenges.
He said: “From the economic indices, the country is in recession. These are mainly due to the global fall in oil prices and reduced oil production resulting from local challenges. It is now generally agreed that we need to diversify our economy to assist our exit from the current state. The abundant solid mineral resources, which the country is blessed with, are surely one of the areas to diversify our economy. We need to give needed attention to the development of engineering materials from solid minerals.”
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