Era of exporting raw minerals from Nigeria gone – Tinubu
…As Engineer Sule seeks collaboration with FG, communities to regulate mining.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has emphasized that the era of exporting raw mineral resources from the country has gone.
President Tinubu made this known while declaring open this year’s Nigerian Mining Week, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Represented at the event by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, the President said that having observed the huge loses recorded by Nigeria through the export of crude minerals, his administration has therefore evolved the policy of value addition to the country’s mineral resources before exportation.
“The policy will ensure that the teeming youths in the country will also be meaningfully absorbed in economic ventures that would empower them while developing their skills in specialized areas of human endeavor. Through this policy, the era of the export of crude minerals ores from Nigeria is gone,” said President Tinubu.
This is just as Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, restated his call for closer collaboration between the Federal, State Governments and mining communities, with a view to safeguard the environment against degradation.
Speaking at the event, Engineer Sule emphasized the need for the Federal Government that has sole control of the mining sector, to collaborate and partner with state governments, as well as mining communities especially while licensing prospective mining companies.
According to the Governor, the era of merely getting consent from local communities that lack understanding of the negative impact of mining, should be reviewed with both the state governments and communities allowed to participate in the licensing of mining companies.
He explained that, though no state governor has control over mining, what his administration did in Nasarawa State was to plead, through an executive order, requsting mining companies to provide environmental impact assessment before venturing into the communities.
“There is no state in the federation, no Governor can interfere to stop mining of solid minerals. However, what we have done in Nasarawa State is an executive order that is more like an appeal than an order. The appeal is that the minerals belong to the Federal Government, but the land belongs to the state. So the best way forward is for us to find some line of partnership so we can work together,” he stated.
The Governor used the opportunity of the event to highlight some of the inroads recorded by his administration in the sector, particularly the recent drilling of oil in Obi Local Government Area, as well as the unprecedented discovery of large swathe of lithium deposits in Nasarawa State.
“As an oil and gas person, when I became the Governor of Nasarawa State, I started working very hard to ensure that the hydrocarbons that are being seen in the state are properly exploited and produced. I worked a lot with the NNPC for roughly two and a half years to acquire the 2-D enhanced seismic and to do everything until last year when we were able to drill the first oil well in Obi where over one billion barrels of oil has been discovered.
“Now when we came up with the executive order, and exactly after what the Minister has mentioned, after the exploration work that has been done and the geological work that has been done by the ministry, we came to discover that Nasarawa State happens to be, so far, the state with the highest commercial quantity of lithium.
“Now, we have three companies that have come forward. One is called Landmark Lithium Mining Company, which is already getting ready to commission its factory that would be processing 3000 tones of lithium a day. This will be done in December.
“Another company called RSIN has already begun the construction of its factory and will be commissioning by March next year in Karshi. It is billed to process 1500 tones and then expanding to another 3000, making it 4500 metric tones by the end of next year.
“Just last week, the Minister and I were in a village called Endo, where Ganfeng Lithium Mining Company performed the groundbreaking for its 250m USD factory that will process another 18, 000 metric tones per day,” he added.
On their parts, both the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake and his counterpart from the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, stressed the efforts being put in place by the Tinubu administration to further develop the Nigerian mining sector.
For the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, he explained that his Ministry is firmly committed to conducting mining activities that are environmentally sustainable, socially responsible and economically beneficial, adding that mining operations should serve as catalyst for community development and job creation and adhere to industry best practices that minimize ecological footprints.
Uzoka-Anite, on her part, said he ministry will support the mining sector to industrialize, stressing that what the Federal Government wants is to see to the development and the springing up of solid minerals value chains.
“We want to see the development of refined minerals being exported not raw minerals,” she added.
The Minister emphasized that the only way the present administration can fulfil its promise to provide 50m jobs, is through the industrialization of all sectors of the economy, especially mining and steel development.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘Capitalising on Nigeria’s critical minerals resources for its economic growth’.