The Federal Government of Nigeria has acquired a Fire Assay Laboratory, major analytical infrastructure that is regarded as a huge step towards becoming a major Mining hub in the world, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite has said. He said the instrument was established in line with the ongoing efforts of government to reposition the sector and improve its attractiveness to local and foreign investors.
According to the Minister who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Ayodeji Adeyemi, ‘The Fire Assay laboratory is the first of its type in Nigeria and is considered the most reliable means for accurately determining the content of gold, silver, and platinum-group metals in ores or concentrates.’
The minister who is expected to commission the laboratory soon, noted that a fire assay laboratory is a crucial analytical infrastructure needed in the mining sector to accurately determine the concentrates of precious metals in ore, noting that the development was bound to take the mining sector to the next level.
He explained that the establishment of the laboratory was a crucial step towards making the country a major mining destination. ‘We now have the analytical facilities that can support the mining ecosystem in the country and this is bound to attract more foreign interest in to the sector,’ he said.
Adegbite also noted that the Fire Assay Laboratory would save the country millions of dollars spent outside the country to conduct such analysis on metal ores. ‘With the establishment of a fire Assay laboratory, we do not need to take metal ores out of the country to determine the level of concentrate of precious metals, thereby expending our scares foreign exchange in other countries.’
‘This fire Assay laboratory would free up scarce foreign exchange, while it would also serve as a revenue generator for the government as companies who want to mine precious metals would no longer need to send samples out of the country but now send them to our laboratory in Kaduna which would be a source of revenue generation for the government.’
The Minister commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support to the mining sector, noting that his administration had allocated special intervention fund for the sector to enhance its Geo-science data generation capacity.
‘Indeed we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving this sector the fillip and the push it deserves to becoming a choice mining destination in the mining world. No other administration has allocated the resources that this present administration has to the mining sector and for that we are grateful,’ he said.
The Director General of Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, Dr. Abdulrazaq Garba equally agreed that the establishment of a Fire Assay laboratory would enhance Nigeria’s status as a Mining jurisdiction in the global mining world.
According to Dr Garba, “Before now, many foreign investors had been making inquiries asking if we have a Fire Assay laboratory that can support the mining sector in the country. With the establishment of one now, it is bound to be a welcome news to foreign investors.’
He disclosed that two companies involved in the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project, NIMEP, programme had spent millions of dollars to obtain such analysis outside the country. ‘About two companies did fire essay analysis outside the country just to determine the metal content of what they are doing for example gold, content, the companies in between them spent about two million dollars,’ adding that ‘if half of that sum came into the NGSA, the agency would have been able to achieve substantial Internally Generated Revenue for the sector.’
‘We would have also been able to save capital flight, so are hoping to do more than this, in fact all the analytical facilities that are needed to support the mining industry which hitherto we don’t have, I want to assure you that the NGSA through the support of the ministers and the Permanent Secretary, will be able to achieve them soonest,’ he added.
The fire Assay laboratory is owned by the National Geosciences Research Laboratory Centre Kaduna, which is under the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, an agency under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.