By Vivian Emoni
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake, says that solid minerals will contribute 50 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP).
Alake said this during the unveiling of Agenda for Transformation of the Solid Minerals for International Competitiveness and Domestic Prosperity, in Abuja on Sunday.
He said that the ministry was poised to attract Foreign Direct Investment to the country, adding that the ministry would focus on a seven-point agenda.
According to him, these include the creation of Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation, Joint Ventures with Mining Multinationals, Big Data on specific seven priority minerals and their deposits.
“Also, a 30-day grace had been given to illegal miners to join artisanal cooperatives.
The Agenda will create Mines Surveillance Task Force and Mines Police, as well as the Comprehensive review of all mining licenses
“It will create six Mineral Processing Centres to focus on value-added products,” he said.
The minister said that President Bola Tinubu has taken firm and courageous decisions that have reset the logic of the Nigerian economy.
He said that the removal of subsidy and the adoption of a single exchange rate were among the fundamental transformational policies of this administration.
“This radical approach to making the economy resilient in the long term is the guiding principle of the management of the ministry.
“The ministry has to take the bull by the horns if the country must reap the harvest of the trillion dollars worth of minerals under the ground across the country.
“To achieve this laudable objective, there has to be a paradigm shift in the strategy by re-positioning the sector in terms of human and capital factors that can drive its transformation,” he said.
The minister said that mining was a big business and the ministry would ensure that the Nigerian solid mineral corporation was created.
He said that Nigeria must assert its presence by replicating the strategic position in the petroleum sector.
“This can be possible by setting up a corporate body that plays in this field.
“Consequently, the ministry shall work towards the incorporation of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation,” he said.
Alake said that the corporation would provide robust support for Nigerian businessmen seeking funding abroad to authenticate their investment proposals.
He said the ministry would introduce a security tax force and mines police that would help the country combat illegal mining and smuggling.
“For the last time, let me declare that the ministry is giving such persons 30 days grace to join a miners’ co-operative or find another vocation to do.
“On the expiration of the period, the full weight of the law will fall on anyone seen on a mining site without a determinable status.
“This message will be interpreted into Nigerian languages and broadcast on the radio to ensure no one is ignorant of this directive.
“From October, a rejuvenated security regime will become active in the solid minerals sector.
“This will include the Mine Police, sourced from the Nigeria Police and specially trained to detect illegal mining and apprehend offenders, ” he said.
Alake said that new Mines Surveillance Security Task Force would coordinate the mines police and proactively address high risk incidences of breach of mining laws.
He said that the federal and states governments would be encouraged to allocate the prosecution of cases against illegal miners to competent courts.
He said the ministry would ensure that some inefficient areas such as geo-data, weak implementation and enforcement, poor environmental, safety, and health policies among others were effectively addressed. (NAN)