The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu has said the journey towards making the mining sector a vibrant one has been both transformative and evolutionary.
He stated this at the 2nd edition of African Natural Resource and Energy Investment Summit held in Abuja recently at the International Conference Centre, Abuja during which he stressed that the Summit was part of deliberate efforts on a pivotal subject that resonates deeply with the economic and industrial future of Africa as a whole.
The summit was convened to discuss Value addition to the mining sector in terms of locally producing transition metals.
“It’s an occasion that brings together stakeholders across diverse sectors, all unified under a noble banner of sustainable development. The theme of this summit, “Towards a Just Transition,” encapsulates the urgency and responsibility we hold in our hands as we navigate the intricate balance between resource development and environmental sustainability.
“Our journey in the mining sector has been both transformative and evolutionary. As we stand at the cusp of a new era, the pursuit of value addition becomes paramount, particularly in the realm of transition metals. The demand for these metals, crucial in the development of green technologies, has surged globally. Africa’s potential to meet this demand is vast, yet largely untapped.
“The key lies not only in extracting these metals but in harnessing our capabilities to refine and produce them locally. Doing so is an opportunity to foster economic growth, create jobs, and also maintain control over our resource value chain”, the Minister emphasised.
According to him, by investing in domestic refining and production capabilities, we are not only adding value but also paving the way for sustainable development, ensuring that the wealth generated from these resources remains significantly within our communities, empowering our people whilst fostering technological innovation.
He explained that this strategic shift is not without its challenges as it necessitates collaboration among National and Sub-national governments, industry stakeholders, and investors to build a robust infrastructure, promote innovation, and instigate supportive policies that encourage local value addition.
Furthermore, it calls for a commitment to sustainability, incorporating responsible mining practices, and embracing environmentally friendly production techniques to mitigate any adverse impact on our ecosystem. As the Minister of Steel Development, I stand committed to supporting initiatives that foster the local production of transition metals.
The rest of the text of his address reads:
We are committed to a sustainable future that demand’s innovation and transformation in steel production, ensuring that our advancements align with global environmental standards. It is based on this that a roadmap is being developed for the revitalization of the steel sector in Nigeria – with considerable attention to issues of insurance for government owned steel plants, beneficial incentives for investors that are willing to put money in the sector, and designating the 24, 000 – hectare land in Ajaokuta as an Industrial Park. The commitment to developing the steel sector remains unwavering, with a focus on job creation, attracting investments, and contributing significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product as outlined in the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, where the president intends to make Nigeria a G-20 economy before the end of his second term in office in 2031.
As we exchange ideas during this summit, let us remember that our decisions and actions today will resonate for years to come.
Finally, in line with the 8-point agenda of Mr President and the proposed roadmap for the ministry of steel development, the following are some suggested pathways transition metals can be produced locally with requisite value addition, though not exhaustive, it includes;
Enforcing the Processing of Raw Materials Locally: Government will ensure a conducive environment for investments in mineral processing plants across the country. This will ensure forex proliferation and creation of jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers in the mining sector.
We must Improve Promotional Activities for Specific Minerals: We must build on the several ongoing initiatives to grow Nigeria’s mining sector; local and global promotion needs to be intensified on Lithium, Gold, Limestone etc to attract investments into the sector.
We must Invest in exploration of Bankable data for Mining: Government will encourage investments in the determination of large volumes and deposits of transition metals.
We need to Secure the Mining Environment: Ensuring a secure environment through enhanced security initiatives for mining operations remains one of the matters that requires urgent attention.
We need to establish Host Communities Mineral Development Fund: This will address the challenges investors usually encounter with local communities on ownership of mineral deposits.
I would like to thank you all as I implore each and every one of you to join hands in this transformative journey, as we aim not just for economic prosperity, but for a future where Africa’s resources contribute to a sustainable and prosperous world for generations to come.