The federal government, through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, has secured $150million (N45.7 billion) support from the World Bank for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MSSED or MinDiver) programme.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this in Abuja monday, said the ministry is working with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other institutions to assemble a $600million investment fund for the sector, by first quarter of 2017.
The minister stated this in his 2016 end of year ministerial briefing and projections for 2017, at the conference room of the ministry.
The event was attended by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mohammed Abbas.
Fayemi said: “We have secured support from the World Bank for the funding of $150million Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification ((Economic Diversification MSSED or MinDiver) programme, adding that “a critical component of the support is to provide technical assistance for the restructuring and operationalisation of the Solid Minerals Development Mining Investment Fund, which would make finance available to ASM operators through development finance, micro-finance and leasing institutions.
The minister spoke of plans for the mining sector new year, at the event which also featured the commissioning of 38 surveillance vehicles bought for mines officers, valued at about N322 million.
He said: “The fund will also help to bring back on stream previously abandoned proven mining projects like tin ore, iron ore, coal, gold and lead-zinc among others.”
Fayemi said the sector has witnessed some positive developments and productivity in the last one year, including a major improvement in the ministry’s contribution to the Federation Account to about N2 billion n in 2016, up from N700million in 2015.
He added that increased productivity in the mining space had also led to significant discovery of mineral deposits, notably the large find of high-grade nickel a few months ago in Dangoma, Kaduna State by an Australian mining company operating in Nigeria.
Fayemi, further revealed that government had constructed 10 Prototype Mineral Buying Centres across the country for specific strategic industrial minerals.
“The centres are to serve as standardisation centres to enable ASM Cooperatives and operators receive fair premium for their labour. With renewed determination to strengthen collaborative efforts with State governments in natural resource governance, the PMBCs are being ceded to state governments” he said
Fayemi recalled that he had identified some challenges , including lack of geological data, weak institutional capacity and limited supporting infrastructure during his inaugural ministerial briefing on December 21, 2015, said he the ministry has recorded some remarkable achievements in tackling those challenges.
The minister also inaugurated the Mining Implementation Strategy Team(MIST). Composition to be chaired by the Chairman, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, Prof. Olugbenga Okunlola and Coordinated by the Special Adviser to the Minister on Policy and Strategy Prof. Okey Onyejekwe.