Era of illegal exports of gold, other solid minerals gone, says President


The era of exporting raw gold, lithium and other minerals is gone for good, President Bola Tinubu said yesterday. He said that many local companies have already adjusted their business plans to the new normal, urging others to do same.

The President said the creation of the policy of value addition to mineral resources before exportation by his administration was to halt the huge losses recorded through the exports of unprocessed mineral commodities.

He spoke in Abuja at the second day of the eighth edition of the Nigerian Mining Week which was organised by the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN).

Solid Mineral Development Minister, Mr. Dele Alake, whose ministry hosted the event at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in conjunction with others, said an end is in sight for the exportation of raw materials.

The President, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume said: “This administration has hit the ground running with remodeling the former Ministry of Mines and Steel Development into the ministry of Solid Minerals development and Ministry of steel developments, the orders to demonstrate the resolve of the federal government to maximise the potentials of the mining industry significantly improves its contribution to the revenue of government.

“The present administration has observed the huge losses recorded by the nation through the exports of crude mineral commodities and therefore has evolved a policy of value addition to its mineral resources before exportation, the policy will ensure that the teaming youths in the country will also be meaningfully absorbed in economic benches that will empower them while developing their skills.

“Through this policy, the era of export of crude minerals from Nigeria is gone. It is gratifying to note that many companies in Nigeria have already adjusted their business plans to this new normal and we hope others are encouraged to do same

“We are determined to use every potential to industrialized this great country. There is no reason why Nigeria and Africa should not be leading in any of the critical mineral value chains.

“The recent global trends in the energy transition initiatives have led to stunning discoveries which has opened Nigeria to geological exploration works that have grown the availability of huge lithium resources of high grade across many states in Nigeria.”

The minister cited the take-off of a lithium battery production factory in Ondo, Ondo State and similar start-ups all over the country as gains of the policy.

He got an ally in Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, who informed that two other mineral processing plants with billion-dollar finished goods were set to start.

Alake restated the commitment of the Tinubu administration to revive economic growth by developing vast solid mineral deposits in the country.

The minister described the theme of the 2023 mining week tagged: “Capitalizing on Nigeria’s critical mineral resources for its economic growth”, as a demonstration of the government’s determination to  reduce dependence on oil through sustainable development of the solid minerals sector.

He said: “Our vision for the mining sector transcends mere resources extraction. We are firmly committed to conducting mining activities that are economically sustainable, socially responsible, and economically beneficial.

“We believe mining operations should serve as catalysts for community development and job creation and adhere to industry best practices that minimize ecological footprint.

“As we convene here today, I want to assure you that the Ministry of Solid Minerals is wholeheartedly dedicated to advancing the Mining Sector in Nigeria. We are actively addressing the historical challenges that have hindered our progress, including infrastructure deficits, inadequate geological data, and the emerging imperative needs for modern mining.

“Our ongoing efforts also encompass improving the ease of doing business within the sector, enhancing transparency, and enforcing regulations that protect the interests of investors, the environment, the Mining Host Community, and Gender issues.”

Shedding light on his seven-point agenda for the ministry, Alake hinted of plans for the establishment of the national mining company; harnessing technological innovation to revolutionize the mining industry; sustained geo-science data generation; empowering local communities by ensuring they benefit from mining activities; enhancing infrastructure development for mining and addressing prevalent security challenges amongst others.

He said: “Nigeria is endowed with valuable solid minerals like limestone, gold, baryte, bitumen, lead-zinc, coal and iron ore, to mention but a few.  This natural wealth indicates a significant reservoir poised for exploration and development.

“These resources can potentially reduce our dependence on oil revenues, diversify our economic base, serve as the bedrock of sustainable development across various sectors, and provide significant job creation opportunities.”

At the event were Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu; Minister of Trade, Investments and Industries, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anitie; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) African Finance Corporation (AFC), Samaila Zuberu and a host of other stakeholders in the mining sector.

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