BY AKUDORO GLORIA
The Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr. Dele Alake has said that solid minerals corporation will attract the local and foreign investment required to reposition the sector for rapid development.
Alake said this during an interview with CNBC, an African news medium recently at the just concluded Perth Conference on mining in Australia.
Meanwhile, during the conference at Perth, Australia, the Minister spotlighted Nigeria’s strategic roadmap for the development of the solid minerals sector and advocated for several partnership between the two nations gearing toward economic growth.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the Deputy Director Information, Alaba Balogun, Alake canvassed the Nigerian government’s deliberate policies and plans to attract local and foreign investors to the sector by establishing the Nigerian Mining Corporation among others as a particular-purpose vehicle to engage in joint ventures with multinationals.
Alake explained, ”Nigeria is shifting attention from hydrocarbon to renewable energy and the solid minerals underground is a perfect alternative.
“Secondly, since we have been a mono-cultural economy for several decades, there is the imperative to look for other very viable sources of revenue to shore up the GDP of the country, and where also could we look but the vastly untapped and unregulated solid minerals sector that is available to us,” Alake said.
Elaborating further, the Minister said he seized the opportunity to assure investors that the Tinubu administration will promote public-private partnerships to finance essential infrastructures and consistent capacity building.
Dr. Alake said a critical roadmap component is generating adequate geophysical data that would be marketed globally.
“We have planned many regulatory reforms, security, artisanal miners structure and then, of course, the role data plays in solid minerals.
“We intend to go into this very comprehensively to generate enough geophysical data and all other data that would be marketed to the investing global market to attract this critical investment into Nigeria and shore up that sector and make it contribute significantly to the GDP,” he added.
The Minister further stressed on repositioning and sustainability, stating that the mining corporation will enable the government to harness the mineral resources substantially, unlike the present situation where it is an all-comers game with the government being shortchanged.
He added that the proposed corporation would help sanitise the sector in line with global best practices.
His words: ”An SPV like the Nigerian Mining Corporation (NMC) will go a long way to entirely regulate and sanitize the sector, and act as a government face with multinationals engage in a joint venture arrangements: so that Nigerians will have a stake in all of the ventures that go in that sector. That is the role the corporation is going to play, and it is going to be seriously sanitized with efficient governance structures.
Continuing, he said ”so that all past mistakes would be corrected. As we advance with the Nigerian Mining Corporation, it would be like in other developed societies where you have SPVs interfacing on behalf of the government. That is what this NMC is going to do.”
On the issue of illegal miners, the Minister stated that the 30-day ultimatum given to them was to make them join cooperatives and become formalized for them to continue in their trade.
This, he noted, will enhance regulation of the sector coupled with the proposed inter-agency security force that would become operational to sanitize the industry after the expiration of the 30-day ultimatum.