Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government and the British Geological Survey have agreed to commence the process of retrieving about 7,000 old colonial geological reports on the mining industry.
The reports which were said to be missing are needed for adequate archiving.
The agreement was signed by the Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver), Mr Linus Adie, in Abuja recently.
Former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, had while on a United Kingdom trip, visited the British Geological Survey in an effort to recover geological reports and papers on the mineral potentials in Nigeria.
Adie, while speaking at the event noted that, the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency had over the years been requesting the release of the reports which had been coming in bits and when they arrive, they also get missing due to lack of reliable archiving system.
According to him, “To ensure a permanent database and archiving system therefore, the federal government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development decided to build a Nationally Geo data centre with a digital archiving system that will include retrieved old colonial reports on geological works and new geological works in the mining industry.”
He said the data to be digitalised and archived are records from the NGSA and National Steel, Raw Material Exploration Agency Kaduna, (NSRMEA).
Similarly, Director General, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, said the move marked a turning point in Nigeria’s geological archiving system.
He said: “It means that information will be properly collected, processed, stored, digitally archived and disseminated in a seamless manner.
“Access to correct geological reports and data is today the most viable means of attracting foreign investments, since investors seek for correct information and data to do business.
“We have been looking forward to this at the NGSA because companies and investors are interested in information and this move underscores the importance the federal government and the ministry is attaching to it to make Nigeria a mining destination.
“We are looking at a system that data generated will be put in a system to be stored, archived and accessed so as to make Nigeria accessible and operate as an organised set in the mining sector.”
Garba, said the archiving would also help investors in accessing information from sister agencies like the Mining Cadastre Office liaise with them to get relevant data they can make use of.
“The first step is to carry out inventory of what is available at the NGSA to start with in terms of personnel, hardware, software, facility and then look at what we need to put in place to kick start the process,” he added.
In his response, Team Leader, Mineral Resources and Policy, Natural Environment Research Council, Dr. Joseph Mankelow, stressed that the British Geological Survey would train NGSA staff at BGS core facility in the UK at the current dynamics of digitalised archiving system.