- To submit Final Project Report to SMDF Board soon
- MinDiver efforts will invigorate sector, attract global players – Minister
The Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project, Engr Linus Adie says the Project has made remarkable headway despite hitches, stating that it continued to facilitate key reforms across the sector, among which is ‘rekitting agencies’ for optimal service delivery.
Adie, who spoke during the visit of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite and the Permanent Secretary, Dr Mu’azu Abdulkadir to the MinDiver Project Office in Abuja on Thursday, said the Nigeria mining sector enjoys the goodwill of the World Bank, adding that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development was able to convince the Federal Ministry of Finance to give consent to the commencement of the MinDiver project.
Engr Adie who described the visit as “the first time a minister is visiting the MinDiver Project,” said it is a reflection of the minister’s commitment to the realisation of the objectives for which MinDiver was established.
While saying that it took a period of one and half years to design the project together with all technical departments of the Ministry, Adie explained that MinDiver is operating in all the technical departments of the ministry and also in all agencies of the ministry.
Discussing key achievements, he said: “The MinDiver Project has been able to power key reform implementation by serving as a strategic vehicle for providing technical capacity and funding needed to drive long-standing industry reforms, by supporting the operationalisation of the Solid Minerals Development Fund, SMDF.”
He said MinDiver Program has worked strategically with specific departments and agencies on initiatives aimed at realising a more digitally enabled mining sector.
He further explained that strategic initiatives include the development of a modern geo-data center that will capture all colonial reports produced in Nigeria from 1903 to 1960, and the digitalisation of reports produced by the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA) and the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA).
The Project Coordinator disclosed that the upgrade of mining cadastre information to a fully digitalised platform is also one of the goals being achieved, adding that MinDiver Program has also facilitated strategic investments in software and technology infrastructure needed to support digital systems in the governance of the mining sector.
He said MinDiver project is also facilitating the formalisation of ASM operations, adding that it has prioritised the resourcing of key projects aimed at advancing government’s goal of formalising ASM mining in Nigeria.
“MinDiver is currently working with the ASM Department of the ministry to scale-up its knowledge of formalisation techniques and build up its ability to utilize remote sensing technology to enhance data-gathering for improved governance of ASM,” he said.
Discussing efforts to build skills for employment and sustainable livelihoods, he said: “The MinDiver program is actively supporting a range of livelihood enhancement activities in the mining sector, including a skills development program on gemstones and jewelry-making that will be replicated via the establishment of jewelry making clusters in all states of the country.”
While he recalled that Nigeria was known for great pottery works, he said “MinDiver Project is also facilitating a pottery centre in Suleija, Niger State, an effort he said aims to develop the pottery sub-sector in order to restore lost glory.
In strengthening the agencies, MinDiver is buying laboratory equipment for all of them except Onitsha, he said adding that the intention is to ensure that they are all prepared to carry out their mandate effectively.
For Mining Cadastre Office, we are renovating their offices in the six geo political zones of the country and we look forward to commissioning the projects in December.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite commended the Project Coordinator for the warm reception accorded the ministerial team despite short notice.
“I have heard a lot about MinDiver and so far, I would say you have done so well,” the minister said.
He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to the development of the mining sector and wants us to use the sector to enhance the economy in terms of revenue generation, such that we can diversify the economy from oil and gas, while creating jobs for Nigerians.”
He expressed hope that the efforts being made by MinDiver to strengthen the agencies will invigorate the sector such that the big players in the global mining space will be attracted to the Nigeria mining sector.