FG boosts investment in gold, bitumen, others
Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, has hinted that with the depressing impact of COVID-19 on oil revenue and huge job losses, the government is enhancing investment in gold, bitumen, limestone, barite and phosphates.
The minister, in a webinar put together by Global Rights, noted that the selection of the minerals were governed by availability of the deposits, their fundamental needs and opportunity in the market.
Adegbite noted that it had become imperative for the government to seek revenues from non-oil sources to salvage the country from the looming economic hiccups.
According to him, gold has instant opportunity in buy-back by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), downstream processing and job creation, while bitumen drives import substitution in its use in the construction industry.
Limestone, he added, portends import substitution in industries, downstream development and production of hydrated lime for water treatment, while barite drives import substitution for its use in oil and gas industries, and phosphates used in fertiliser production.
He frowned on the activities of artisanal and small-scale miners, saying they constituted over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s mining business and operated illegally.
He said: “We are working with experienced professionals to scale up its knowledge of formalisation techniques and build up its ability on real time data collection of artisanal mining sites in the country to aid their formalisation into mining co-operatives and mineral enterprises. Extension services will be provided in all aspects of the value chain to ensure adequate management and sustainability.
“The Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) has been strengthened and the ministry is having constant dialogue with the committee in almost all the states of the country.”
This committee has the responsibility of monitoring mining activities in the states, including addressing issues of compensation and community relations.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Global Rights, Abiodun Baiyewu, who spoke on ‘Promoting Good Governance and Fiscal Justice in the Mining Sector’, said transparency was needed.
He noted that “not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done,” hence the need for Nigerians, especially the host communities, to feel the impact of government.
Baiyewu also tasked the ministry to look into the audit report from Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) on solid mineral resources, especially in the area of revenue, internal control, management and administration among others.
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