Mining: Nigeria must not repeat mistake made in oil, gas sector ― FG
The Federal Government has stated that Nigeria can not afford to repeat the mistakes made in oil and gas in mining by exporting raw ore, just as it said mining, before independence, was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy as resources from mining was used to develop infrastructure in oil and gas sector.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, who stated this in a statement signed by Mrs Idowu Jokpeyibo, on behalf of Director of Press, and made available to newsmen in Abuja, said minerals mined in the country should be processed before being exported.
The statement, who quoted minister of saying this during his recent familiarisation tour of some media houses in the South Western States, lamented that the moment Nigeria found oil, it deviated from mining completely.
According to him: “The moment we found oil, we turned our focus away from mining and it died, so we are trying to revive it, Nigeria was once quoted on the London metal exchange, we were the highest exporter of columbite in the world, importing tin from Jos, exporting coal from Enugu to the world, we can bring back that era.”
He said the ministry was currently working a downstream policy that would make exportation of raw ore illegal.
“We don’t want to export raw ore in Nigeria anymore, we want to do beneficiation and that is the downstream policy the ministry is working on and when it comes on stream, nobody can export raw ore in Nigeria again, whatever you mine, you must process locally,” he insisted.
The minister said the ministry would introduce what is called pre-shipment inspectors for mineral export as part of the downstream policy the ministry was working towards.
Pre-shipment inspectors, according to him, are people who have the knowledge, equipment and can confirm the value of what is being exported and ensure payments of appropriate royalties to the government.
Adegbite assured that the government would not criminalise the artisanal miners but encourage them to come into the fold and support them.
“Nigerians who engage in mining at an artisanal level is not considered illegal, the illegal miners are foreigners who come into Nigeria and partake in artisanal mining, they ride on the back of artisanal miners, offer them peanuts or little incentives and exploit them,” he explained.
He also disclosed the plan to establish gold souk in the country as he made reference to the recently launched gold Durba in Kano as a move towards having Nigeria gold souk.
The minister said Nigeria was getting to the point where women can take their idle gold to the bank, obtain certificates and use them to trade.