Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has stated that it is currently understudying South Africa in the steps it is taking especially in terms of environmental degradation and how mining can be properly done without destroying the environment.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, stated that the agreement reached at the just-concluded 9th session of the Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission (NSABNC) would open a new chapter in the country’s mining industry and further bolster the two countries’ relationship.
Adegbite said the meeting was timely and mutually-beneficial as it provided an opportunity for the two countries to discuss cooperation in different sectors, particularly mines and steel.
A statement by the Director of Press, Mr. Godwin Opkara, on Sunday quoted the minister as saying that both countries acknowledged that they needed to work together, noting that “South Africa just discovered crude oil and they need our experience in terms of petroleum exploration especially offshore while they are very advanced in mining and we are learning from them to avoid pitfalls that they had”.
According to Adegbite, Nigeria needed to understand the steps they are taking, especially in terms of environmental degradation, and how mining can be properly done without damaging the environment, adding that it is really a symbiotic relationship.
He stressed that Nigeria and South Africa had in October 1999 established a Bi-National Commission (BNC) called Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission (NSABNC) as a mechanism for a sustaining bi-lateral high-level dialogue to promote and increase cooperation in diplomatic, economic, security and other areas of mutual interest.
The commission was established, to among other goals, promote and coordinate foreign policy, economic, commercial, technical, social and cultural co-operation between the governments; to address the areas of mutual interest or concern and develop strategies towards tackling these issues with assistance and coordination from both governments.