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Solid minerals; A resurrection tool for Nigeria’s economy, says Alake

From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja

The Minister of SolidMinerals Development , Dr. Oladele Alake has stated that Nigeria’s abundant solid minerals will be a resurrection tool to revamp the nation’s economy.

Dr. Alake who made this declaration when the Association of Licensed Small Scale Miners led by its President, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala paid him a courtesy visit in his Office at the Ministry’s Headquarters in Abuja. He affirmed that the present administration is shifting attention from hydro-carbon.

The Minister added that the Ministry has initiated several deliberate policies and programmes which are geared towards achieving set objectives for economic prosperity; as outlined in the roadmap that was recently released to the public. He affirmed that the establishment of the Solid Minerals Corporation and promotion of public private ventures is crucial to these objectives; adding, it will ensure sustainability, increase revenue accruable to government, with a significantcontribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Dr. Alake further acknowledged the importance of security of investors, which according to him, is crucial to achieving the Ministry’s vision of repositioning and sanitizing the minerals sector for maximum contribution to the nation’s socio-economic development under the present administration’s renewed hope agenda.

He added that the Ministry is committed to establishing a multi- agency task force that will put a stop to the activities of illegal miners and their collaborators. ‘’The government will come down firmly on these unscrupulous foreign operators sponsoring banditry to perpetrate illegal mining: let me use this medium to appeal through you to tell those sponsors to desist or face the full wrath ofthe law’’, the Minister stated.

The Minister restated that the Government has given illegal miners 30-days grace, stressing, it is not a punitive measure but a way to formalize and make them legitimate to continue intheir trade. He also asserted that the aim is to streamline and structure the Small Scale Artisanal Miners for maximum yield to the Federal Government.

Speaking earlier, the President, Association of Licensed Small Scale Miners, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala informed the Minister that their visit is to celebrate his appointment as Minister for Solid Minerals Development.

He stated that the association has proferred ideas and suggestions to the Ministry; that will advance and grow the sector for socio-economic development of the country. Some of which include improving data synergy between the Mining Cadastre Office and Nigeria Geological Survey Agency.