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Mining Sector Reforms Creating Jobs, Security, Revenue – Alake

The ongoing reforms in the mining sector are creating jobs, security and revenue, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake has disclosed.

Addressing the nation at the maiden edition of the ministerial sectoral updates organised by the Presidency at the National Press Centre, Radio House, Abuja on Thursday, he said the reforms tagged seven-point agenda, comprise plans to set up a Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation, gather extensive mineral data, set up Mines Police, and market the sector to woo investors. “It also includes initiatives to promote joint ventures and protect the interest of mining communities”, he added.

In a statement by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, the minister, while giving an account of how the reforms have turned around the sector, asserted that the inauguration of the 2,220 Mining Marshals is gradually restoring sanity to the mining environment, enabling investors to reclaim mines occupied by illegal miners.

At the same time, the research of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) has led to the discovery of more mineral sites.

The Minister said the upgrade of the eMC+ licensing portal of the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) in the last year has increased applications, licences, and revenue.

According to him “these efforts have significantly boosted confidence in the system, resulting in a surge of 10,534 fresh applications for mining licenses within the past year. Notably, revenue generation has soared by 59.6 per cent compared to the previous year, reaching N6,203,536,161.00”.

He emphasised that the global spotlight has shifted to the mining sector, attributing this to ongoing reforms aimed at sanitising and revitalising the mining landscape.

Dr. Alake also outlined the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation’s structure, indicating that it will have 25 per cent government shares, 25 per cent public shares, and 50 per cent shares held by private investors. The target, he affirmed, is to operationalise the corporation by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Bold reforms to sanitise the sector, according to Alake, include the revocation of 1,619 mineral titles of defaulters of annual service fees, 912 dormant licenses and the arrest of 200 and prosecution of over 133 illegal mining suspects, the statement said further.

The newly established mining marshals, comprising 2,220 specially trained operatives drawn from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), have been instrumental in this remarkable feat.

“We plan to scale up the mining marshals with more men while strengthening their operations with a massive dose of technology. This will incorporate satellite monitoring of mining sites for intrusion detection and deployment of rapid response squad to nip nefarious activities in the bud, “Alake affirmed.

The minister reiterated the ministry’s commitment to attracting big international players by generating comprehensive geo-data.

Despite funding challenges, Valuechain reports, the ministry is exploring innovative financing options, including Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and collaborations with global exploration agencies, to develop accurate and internationally authenticated data to inform investment decisions.

“The Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) has signed an MOU with German firm Geo Scan GmBN to deploy proprietary technology for exploration.

“Discussions have reached an advanced stage with global exploration agency XCalibur amongst other PPP options to ensure that we develop accurate and internationally certified data that will enable big players to make informed decisions about investing in our mining industry”, the minister emphasised.

To enhance the ease of doing business in the mining sector, the minister revealed that the recently launched Nigeria Mineral Resources Decision Support System (DSS), a comprehensive software platform, is poised to provide easy access to information about mineral deposits, facilities, and infrastructure to prospective investors worldwide.

Dr. Alake reaffirmed his dedication to building upon the achievements of the
past year, focusing on ensuring that the mining sector becomes a significant contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and deliver on the Renewed Hope Manifesto.

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