The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development says its aspiration is to build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem to target domestic and export market for minerals and ores.
Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of the sector, announced this during a MinDiver Project presentation on Thursday in Abuja.
A Mindiver project is a World Bank support to drive the success of the mining roadmap; a strategy of actualising the mining roadmap.
Fayemi said that the aspiration could be achieved by focusing on Nigeria’s minerals, mining and related processing industry over a three-phase period.
He said the phase one would seek to rebuild market confidence in its minerals and mining sector and win over domestic users of industrial minerals currently imported.
He said that during this phase, Nigeria would also seek to expand use of its energy minerals and the phase would likely last about two to three years.
He said the phase two would focus on expanding Nigeria domestic ore and mineral asset processing industry, which would last about five to 10 years.
He said the third phase sought to return to global ore and mineral markets at a market competitive price point and it expected to coincide with the next commodity upswing.
According to him, it is critical that the sector creates two million jobs per annum to help absorb such manpower over the coming decade, as the sector had been positioned as an important part of the solution.
He said the the mining sector had been tasked to address perennial power deficit in Nigeria by leveraging it with the huge coal endowed in the country, for sustainable diversification and to achieve the gavernment’s target of 10,000MW of electricity by 2019.
He said that the ministry had four themes emphasising on reforming the mining sector; these revolve around issues of transparency, accountability, participation and jurisdiction.
He said that the mining sector was promising to be a major catalyst of development goals and consistent implementation of well thought-out reforms and strategic partnerships with key stakeholders for success and sustainability of the reforms.
“In addressing the challenge of insufficient funding and lack of access to capital, the ministry secured the unprecedented approval for N30 billion from the mining sector component of the Natural Resources Development Fund from the government.
He said the Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) now spearheading the assembling of a 600 million dollars investment fund for the sector, working with entities such as the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigeria Stock Exchange and others.
“Our ministry is also in partnership with the Bank of Industry that has resulted in raising about 20 million dollars as initial capital for a fund focused on supporting Artisanal and Small Scale Miners.
“It is noteworthy that in addition to funding support from multi-lateral agencies, partnerships on technical co-operation have also been brokered or re-activated with several foreign governments.
“Existing technical partnerships have been operationalised with the governments of South Africa, China, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
“Nigeria now takes the lead in regional efforts to develop mining, especially within the framework of the Africa Mining Vision.
“Our strategy for building the mining sector is to initially focus on using its industrial mineral endowment to support its industrialisation.”
According to him, it is now a government policy directive to support private industry by building overall competitiveness, such as quality, price, loss ratios and improving the ease-of-doing-business, in collaboration with other government agencies.
He said the ministry aimed to create domestic demand by competing to replace ores and minerals currently being imported.
He said the MinDiver Project was carefully aligned with the spirit and letter of the Roadmap, adding that was the singular most significant support the ministry attracted to aid in re-positioning the Nigerian mining sector.
Abubakar Bwari, Minister of State for the ministry, said the MinDiver Project aimed at catalysing the provisions, strategies and goals of the mining sector Roadmap.
Bwari said that government was also stimulating the growth of the downstream segment of the mining industry by facilitating the establishment of Mineral Buying Centres in concert with some state governments and private sector interests.
He said for those familiar with the Roadmap, one of its core implementation objectives was to develop an industrial minerals strategy to boost the local economy through utilisation of domestic minerals.
He said some of the ways the MinDiver project would support the industry participants and encourage competition included attracting majors into the industry by stabilising long-term minerals and mining policy.
He said the project would promote junior explorers through sustaining favourable enabling environment to attract low risk exploration investments.
The minister said the MinDiver would also promote formal small scale operators through expanding access to funding and supporting knowledge development to drive local content.
James Manager, Chairman, Committee on Solid Minerals, said the Senate remained fully aligned with the strategic goal of the Executive Arm of Government to diversify the Nigerian economy.
According to Manager, the National Assembly wascommitted to working with all stakeholders, particularly the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, to tackle the identified barriers to sustainable sector growth.
“The National Assembly will continue to play its part in advancing the development of the mining sector by making laws that would enhance the ease-of-doing-business in the country.”