President Muhammadu Buhari says the huge investment in, and prioritisation of the mining sector in the government ‘s economic diversification efforts, have started impacting positively on the economy.
Buhari said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Nigeria Mining Week.
The President’s speech was delivered by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to Buhari, the government has intentionally prioritised the country’s mineral resources over the years, as a frontier for economic growth.
“This led to the comprehensive Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Sector, and we have steadily followed the steps set out in the roadmap.
“So far, we can say without fear of contradiction that this administration has committed more resources to the development of the mining sector than any other government in the history of this country,” he said.
He said that the huge investment in the mining sector had yielded positive results over time.
“We are proud that the indices of development in the sector are rapidly changing.
“Part of these is the increased revenue generation and of course the unprecedented investment interest that the industry has attracted in the past few years.
“Nigeria, for the first time, has a world-class gold mine in Segilola, Osun state, operated by Thor Exploration.
“Also, Eta Zuma Mining and Industries limited, Mosra Enerji are mining and supplying the coal needs of Dangote and Bua Cement factories.
“In steel industry, African Natural Resources and Mines limited, owners of the Kagarko Integrated Steel plant, is about to produce liquid Steel from its Iron ore mine in Kaduna State,” he said.
The President said that several other investors were at different stages of mine development in various parts of the country.
He added that the sector had the capacity to boost the country’s export earnings and job creation.
“Besides, it will stimulate industrial growth as a local source of raw materials and improve the quality of lives in rural communities,” he said.
He said that the development of the steel sector is still a huge priority of the present administration, adding that the process of concessioning Ajaokuta Steel Company is in progress.
“Our vision for an industrialised nation cannot be achieved without a vibrant steel sector.
“We understand the huge demand for Steel and Iron in our domestic markets and across the sub-region.
“This is why we prioritised the resolution of all the issues constraining the full operation of the Ajaokuta Steel company.
“To this end, a transaction adviser has been appointed to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe.
“The selection process is ongoing. Our commitment is to break the jinx and actualise the dream of a vibrant steel sector,” he said.
The President called on Nigeria’s public and private sector entities to take cognisance of issues of sustainable development and climate change in their exploration and mining activities.
According to him, the extraction of mineral commodities entails considerable impact on land, water, air and other environmental assets that are central to human living both now and in the future.
“The painful experience of the negative impact of oil and gas exploitation in the Niger Delta cannot be ignored.
“Therefore, all operators in the mining sector are obliged by law ethics, and our responsibility for the future, to ensure that proper environmental, social and governance principles are practiced in the sector.
“On our part, the government will continue to intensify its regulatory and supervisory role in ensuring that mining is held to the highest standards of sustainable development and intergenerational equity,” he said.
He commend the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and other stakeholders for providing a conducive environment for investment in the mining sector.