By Emmanuel Mogbede
Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, says Nigeria is determined to play prominent role in the world mining industry.
The minister stated this in a statement issued by Mrs Idowu Jokpeyibo on behalf of the ministry`s Director of Press on Sunday in Abuja.
Jokpeyibo said the minister gave the assurance when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Mines, and Steel.
Adegbite said that the ministry had worked out modalities to improve on efforts and legacies of successive ministers.
He noted that the initiatives of past ministers had come into fruition, especially in the establishment of agencies such as Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) and the Nigeria Geological Survey Agencies (NGSA).
The minister said part of the mandate of the ministry was to diversify the economy and tap into the rich mineral resources of the country to create employment and wealth.
He said agencies under the ministry were undergoing reforms to ensure optimal performance, adding that potentials and challenges in the ministry were being identified.
This, the minister said, was to ensure that the agencies performed optimally.
He said the activities of the MCO and NGSA were being computerised to enable investors accessed data on the country`s minerals deposit from any part of the world.
The minister said the ministry was adopting strategies to organise artisanal miners into cooperatives to enable them benefit from various government programs, especially in areas of training on safer mining practices and accessing funding.
He said the Federal Government had created legitimate buying centres to enable miners sell at the prevalent market price to prevent exploitation of small scale miners.
The minister appealed to the committee to assist by increasing funds allocation to the sector.
Mr Michael Enyong, Chairman of the committe promised that the committee would support the ministry to ensure that government`s programmes and policies in solid minerals was achieved.
He said the committee would intensify efforts to address the challenges confronting the mining sector and ensure that the country`s steel industry worked.
“We are aware that industrialisation of Nigeria is solely dependent on the steel industry.
“We will support the ministry by way of legislation and active interaction.’’ (NAN)