Why we are reviewing policy on ‘strategic minerals’ – Mines Minister, Arc Adegbite

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite says the Federal Government is currently reviewing the policy on ‘strategic solid minerals,’ adding that the effort aims to ensure that Nigeria effectively contributes to the provision of minerals that will become very significant for scientific development in the near future.

While saying that the sector holds enormous promises of development for the country, the minister said the review is a strategy that will make Nigeria an investment destination for investors.

Director General of the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr Abdulrazaq Garba who earlier confirmed the development to our correspondent, said: “The seven strategic minerals are gold, lead zinc, iron ore, baryte and the group of minerals known as pegmatite minerals which include lithium, tantalum and tin.”

The minister who made the disclosure at a recent meeting with Business Editors in Lagos, further discussed the inspiration behind the review saying: “The strategic minerals are being reviewed because the world is going electrical, and that is why these minerals are called ‘the minerals of the future.’”

A statement signed by Media Officer in the Ministry, Ijomah E. Opia quoted the minister as saying that the ‘minerals of the future’ exist in commercial quantities in Nigeria, adding that they include minerals which are used for production of batteries for electric vehicles.

He called on investors to take advantage of the opportunity afforded by the policy to maximize returns on investment.

While saying that the invention of electric cars has led to a decline in the demand for gas-powered cars, the minister noted that the administration is committed to developing solid mineral resources that will be strategic in the near future.

“So, these are obvious facts, and our response as a ministry is to work to develop the strategic minerals to include these minerals of the future.”

While saying that the outcomes are very encouraging, the minister noted that because the minerals are available in huge commercial quantity, the sector has caught the interest of investors such as the Segilola Gold project in Osun State which has commenced operation and is being handled by Thor Exploration,a Canadian company.

He further noted that Segilola Gold Project has gone beyond exploration stage,adding that by the first quarter of 2021, the company would start exporting gold from Nigeria.

Adegbite further stated that government is strongly supporting the project because it is a proof of concept that most of the majors are waiting to see a success story out of Nigeria and the ministry will do everything humanly possible to ensure the Segilola project succeeds because the Nigerian government have put enough incentives to attract foreign investors to the sector, which includes, tax waiver, duty extensions, among others.

He told the gathering that it is working because more investors are coming in, taking advantage of the new development by the government of Nigeria through the ministry.

Arc. Adegbeti also stated that the Ministry has been able to issue licences for gold mining in its effort to help mitigate illegal Mining in Nigeria.

He also commended his predecessors,especially the immediate past minister and who is now the governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Mrs Oby Ezekwesili for laying a solid foundation for the Solid Mineral Sector to strive.

The Minister was accompanied to the briefing by some Directors in the ministry which include; Press and Public Relations, Mr Edwin Opara who gave the welcome address and Director, Mines Environmental Compliance Department, Eng. Sallim Salaam, Director Steel and Non-Ferrous Metals, Engr. Olasupa Kolawole and some aids of the minister.

Responding on behalf of the Business Editors, the Editor-In-Chief of The Nation Newspaper, Mr Simeon Ebulu commended the Minister for a well-articulated presentation, adding that the sector has never had it so good.

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