Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the British Geological Survey (BGS) UK, have concluded plans to commence the process of retrieving about seven thousand colonial geological reports on the mining industry needed for adequate archiving.
Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver), Mr Linus Adie, recalled that former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi visited the British Geological Survey in an effort to recover geological reports and papers on the mineral potentials in Nigeria.
While saying that the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency made efforts to retrieve the colonial reports, he explained that some of the reports were released in bits. He expressed concern that ‘they get missing due to lack of reliable archiving system.’
Adie said ‘in order to ensure a permanent database and archiving system, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development decided to build a National Geological Data Center with a digital archiving system that will include retrieved old colonial reports on geological works and new geological works in the mining industry.’
He said the data to be digitalized and archived are data from the NGSA and National Steel, Raw Material Exploration Agency Kaduna, (NSRMEA).
Director General, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, who listened to a presentation by the team from the British Geological Survey, comprising Mr Flower, Dr Joseph Mankelow, Martin Nice and Jenny Foster, at the Mineral Sector Support For Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) conference room, said the move marks a turning point in Nigeria’s geological archiving system.
According to him, ‘it means that information will be properly collected, processed, stored, digitally archived and disseminated in a seamless manner.’
He said access to correct geological reports and data is today the most viable means of attracting foreign investments, since investors desire reliable information and data to do business.
‘We have been looking forward to this at the NGSA because companies and investors are interested in information and this move underscores the importance the Federal Government and the ministry is attaching to it to make Nigeria a mining destination.’
‘We are looking at a system that data generated will be put in a system to be stored, archived and accessed so as to make Nigeria accessible and operate as an organized set in the mining sector. “
Dr Garba said the archiving will also help investors to access information from sister agencies like the Mining Cadastre Office and liaise with the license-issuing agency to get relevant data they need.
‘The first step is to carry out inventory of what is available at the NGSA to start with in terms of personnel, hardware, software, facility and then look at what we need to put in place to kick start the process,’ he added.
It is pertinent to note that relevant staff of the NGSA will be trained by the British Geological Survey at the BGS core facility in the UK on the current dynamics of digitalised archiving system.