Stakeholders rue Nigeria’s stagnant solid mineral sector
Stakeholders have expressed disappointment that despite various reforms embarked upon by the federal government, no significant growth has been recorded in the solid mineral sector in the past four years.
They told The Guardian that since 2015 when solid mineral contributed 0.33 per cent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the industry was still largely undeveloped due to lack of coordination by government.
According to them, the sector has faced several challenges, such as unreliable geosciences data, as well as weak mechanism for gathering and disseminating information required by investors and policy makers.
Former minister of state for mines and steel development, Abubakar Bwari, said they met moribund sector due to many years of neglect through insufficient funding, among others.
He added that they inherited low productivity, illegal mining and community challenges, harsh business climate, perception issues, and protracted litigation on legacy assets.
The ex-minister maintained that one of the biggest problems in the industry was dearth of quality data and first-rate miners.
Bwari explained that they paid and collected the result of the aeromagnetic survey done 10 years ago and initiated a N15 billion National Integrated Mining Exploration Project.
He added that they were in possession of a document for strategic direction, which would resolve mining issues through initiatives that would last till 2025. “We hope it would yield good results.”
Chairman, Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF), Uba Malami, argued that with a renewed hope in the sector, it would contribute more to the GDP.
This could only bring about the desired result, if reforms are put in place to grow the economy to attract investors into the sector, making Nigeria a global mining destination, he added.
A community leader in Jos, Dung Pam, argued that the federal government could not supervise illegal miners, except through the state and councils because the sites were in the hinterlands.
“For example, tin and other mineral resources are found in Barkin Ladi, Bokkos, Jos North and Jos South. In Wase, Kanam, Mangu, we have many other minerals beside tin and salt deposits.”
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