Kasim Sumaina and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The federal government has officially launched a new mining exploration site in Kuchiko camp in Suleja, Niger State.
The move, government hinted, was aimed at addressing the lack of verifiable bankable data which is one of the key challenges in the development of the solid minerals sector.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bawa Bwari, while launching the project, recently, disclosed that the project was designed to be executed and funded in phases from desktop studies, geological mapping, sampling and trenching to sample analysis, acquisition and interpretation of ground electromagnetic modelling, integration of data and reporting.
According to him, “The project which is domiciled in the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) and supervised by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, is funded through the natural resources fund and aimed to improve the attractiveness of the Nigerian mining sectors for big time investors.”
Bwari, observed that, no investor would take the sector serious if it is unable to provide the kind of accurate verifiable data that speaks to both the quality and quantity of the mineral in the country.
He noted that the project was part of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration project which costs the government N15 billion, making it the biggest activity of its kind ever embarked upon by the ministry.
He disclosed that: “Preliminary reports from here shows deposits of some the minerals that we are looking at, With the presidential order, we want to know what we have and the commercial value and I think we are getting there. From what we have seen here, the results are quite exciting and encouraging.
“We are building foundation for job creation and more revenue to come into Nigeria. We are also creating investors’ confidence, that with this possibilities in Nigeria they will have confidence in coming to Nigeria.”
The Director General of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, in his welcome address said the exploration project was one of the five commissioned by the federal government to generate geoscience information to bridge the gap between exploration data, mining development and ultimately de-risk the sector.
Garba commended the bold effort of the federal government in carrying out this exercise despite dwindling revenues.
“This shows government’s commitment to achieving its diversification policy. It is envisaged that at the end of the ongoing phase two of the project the potential of gold mineralisation will be clearer.”
Also the Managing Director, AG Vision Mining, Fadi Ghazale, while addressing newsmen, revealed that so far all the indications in the site showed that Nigeria was endowed with mineral resources.
“We have run so far more than three thousand samples that has been sent to internationally recognised labs and all indications shows that we have high anomaly zones of gold, lead and zinc, cobalt, copper, baryte, tantalise.”