FG set to give solid minerals sector adequate attention ― Minister

As part of the efforts to diversify Nigeria economy, the Federal Government has stated that it will henceforth placed emphasis on solid mineral sector to ensure that the potentials available in it are fully realised in order to build a robust economy that is capable of withstanding any shocks.

The Minister of Mines and Solid Mineral Development, Mr Abubakar Bawa Bwari who stated this when he visited National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC) Jos, Plateau State to inspect and Commission research and development projects executed by the Centre said the projects were funded through the federal government’s regular budgetary provisions and the solid minerals intervention fund for the development of the mineral and metal sectors of the Nigerian economy.

He said NMDC is central to government’s efforts at diversifying the economy because it provides the critical research and development work needed for value addition in the mineral and metal processing and production chains.”

He added that Nigeria is endowed with abundant mineral resources, many of which are of the highest grade and require less money to explore compared to other countries where they occur. “Indeed, as a result of the exploratory activities embarked upon by this administration, we have discovered newer and better occurrences of some of these minerals in previously unknown areas.

“It is therefore clear that the policies and programmes embarked upon by the Muhammad Buhari administration have taken the solid mineral sector to the next level. We met a sector that is moribund due to neglect and poor funding, and through deliberate efforts, we have now revived it to make our mining environment competitive again.

“As regulators, our job is to provide the enabling environment for operators to thrive while also attracting new investors into the sector. However, in order to accomplish this, the ministry and its agencies must be equipped with the tools that will make them perform their roles adequately.;It is therefore in furtherance of this objective that I am here to commission and inspect the projects.”

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A major project commissioned is an Installed Microwave Plasma–Atomic Emission Spectrometer (MP-AES), a state-of-the-art analytical equipment for the conduct of research work necessary for the development of the minerals sector in Nigeria. It uses air from the atmosphere to generate the nitrogen required for its operations and has many advantages over similar ones as it is environmentally friendly, cheaper to operate and gives more accurate results.

Bwari observed that “with the acquisition of this equipment, the ministry has further enhanced this centre’s capacity to contribute significantly to the diversification of the economy through the minerals sector, using environmental best practices.”

Another project commissioned by the Minister is a 500kv Stand-by Generator to augment the existing 350kv generator set which is old and no longer able to power the research facilities at the Centre adequately.

Commending the DG/CE, Prof Linus O. Asuquo for the leadership he is providing to take NMDC, the Minister charged the management and staff of the Centre to continue to work hard towards the realisation of the fortunes of the Centre, and the solid mineral sector.

Several other projects were commissioned including 10 KV Solar Power Plants and the Microwave Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometer (MP-AES), Hilux Utility Vehicle, renovated and expanded NMDC Conference Hall and Media Centre, renovated Laboratory Building to House MP-AES Machine among others.

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