Data dearth, funding, hindrance to Nigeria’s mining development – Adegbite

Olamilekan Adegbite, Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development has revealed that lack of adequate data, poor access to credit and other challenges have limited the development of Nigeria’s mining sector which has implications for economic growth.

Adegbite who spoke at an evening with the Minister hosted by the Lagos Business School on Thursday explained that the 2016 roadmap for the growth and development of the Nigerian mining industry highlighted these challenges but the government and the ministry is looking to address it.

“Some challenges of the sector highlighted by the 2016 roadmap include lack of data and geoscience information, weak mining institution , lack of new technology, skills and training and limited engagement with key stakeholders poor revenue generation and leakages ,challenges of industry participants, and many others,” he said.

He said efforts are ongoing to address the challenges bedeviling the sector, so that it can make significant contribution to economic development. He added that miners can assess funds however they need to be incorporated formally into the system through corporatives.

“Artisanal miners through the corporative can access a minimum of two million and maximum of ten million naira loans from the government with about five percent interest rate for a 15 year tenor,” he said.

Speaking on the steel industry, he said the sector is laced with potentials and can contribute significantly to economic growth, adding that efforts have been intensified to drive full recovery of the sector.

He said efforts to revive the mills was disturbed by the pandemic outbreak noting that 60 experts had been invited from Russia and 100 from Nigeria to perform a technical audit and provide solution to get the mill functional.

Read also: Mining revenue to hit N8bn December, revival efforts intensify – Adegbite

Adegbite revealed that the government is concentrating on Ajaokuta after it was forced to hands-off the Aladja steel mill in Delta when a concessioner used it as a collateral for over N46 billion naira loan which caused AMCOM to take over the asset and sell it.

He added that many of the other mills have been privatized but are not performing optimally because Ajaokuta is not producing the necessary tools, a problem which the government is trying to address.

Speaking on other ways the sector is being revived, He revealed that the mining industry is being digitized, in addition about five abandoned mining sites have been reclaimed so far using provisions from budgetary allocations with more on the way.

He said that the government provided funding of N30 billion in 2017 to enhance the sector activity of which 50 percent was dedicated to research and exploration through the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) program, hence data will become readily available when it is concluded.

“We now have data that is bankable on gold, barite, coal and we have taken this data to various countries and investors were interested so we will sell this data back to investors with plans to hold an auction in the first quarter of 2022, Revenue realized from the sale of data will be ploughed back into further exploration work,” he said.

He also said that banks lack adequate knowledge about the sector which limits credit inflow, as a solution discussions are ongoing with the Nigerian stock exchange to create a funding structure that will pump public funds into mining activities.

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