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FG collaborates with British Geological Survey on national archiving system


Abubakar Bawa Bwari

As part of its effort to effectively diversify the nation’s economy outside the oil and gas sector, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and its agency, the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) have commenced collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS) towards the establishment of a Nigerian National Geo-data Archiving system.

While welcoming the representatives of BGS in Abuja, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari said Nigeria could not talk about geological survey without reference to her colonial masters, the British.

Citing the coalmines in Enugu and the Jos Tin and Columbite Mines as part of the footprints of colonial masters in mining, Bwari said “accurate data is key to developing the mining sector and Nigeria would like to take mining to where it used to be during the colonial era when mining really took place in Nigeria”.He explained, “with the exit of the British, Nigeria could not continue with the foundation laid in mining. However, we have learnt our mistakes and retracing our steps by coming back to the basics.”

Bwari said the proposed visit of the BGS to Kaduna would bring back memories because most of the objects there delineate the strong ties and relationship with what the British did in the country in the past. According to him, this is the crux of the collaboration and assistance of BGS.He stressed, “we need the assistance and guidance that would help us in facilitating what we want. Therefore, the release of data in BGS’ possession will mark the beginning of Nigeria’s progress in mines and steel development.”

The Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver), Mr. Linus Adie, in his address, said, “Nigeria does not have geological archival system at the moment which means travelling long distance to get necessary information needed in the nation’s Mining Sector. Therefore, the establishment of the Nigerian National Geo-Data Archiving System (NNGAS) means that the ministry would bring all geo-data in the industry into one format that is retrievable for investors.”

Adie explained further, “the BGS’ visit is to carry out a preliminary study of at no cost to the country except logistics. The NNGAS will be domiciled and operated in NGSA. Also, NGSA’s staff would be trained on how system operations, as well as expose them to the practices in other countries. It is all inclusive project that would create a ‘new’ NGSA.”

In his submission, Engr. Ndubuisi Nwegbu, Director General, NGSA, “this collaboration would facilitate the ease of doing business in the nation’s mining sector as a result of accessibility to information which is key in decision making especially in mining.”

According to him, “what  we intend to do in collaborating with BGS is to articulate and bring together most of the information that are in different areas and in different formats so that individuals or organisations that are interested in the mining sector can easily have access to vital information that would enable them make decisions.”

In the same vein, the Director of Informatics, BGS, Matt Harrison in his remarks, said his organisation was “excited to collaborate with the Ministry. It is an opportunity to work together with NGSA as there were experiences that we could share with Nigeria. We are discussing with NGSA to see how they could open up to outside investors and Nigeria much in the same way they had with other countries.”

Within the period of their visit, the representatives of the BGS are expected to work closely with NGSA and the National Steel Raw Materials Research Agency (NSRMEA), Kaduna and carve a way for the establishment of the National Geo-data and Archiving System.

In his closing remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Abdulkadri Mu’azu believed that “for the mining sector to function in most efficient manner and develop a broad revenue base, technical collaboration is imperative. The BGS’ visit is a reflection of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s commitment to diversify the nation’s economy from oil and mining is one of the key sectors.”

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