Minister of Mines and Steel Development Architect Olamilekan Adegbite has stated that the nation is building a world-class mining sector that would be the toast of investors.
The Minister, according to a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Ayodeji Adeyemi, made the remark during the commissioning of the Fire Assay laboratory and Earthquake Monitoring Centre in Kaduna State.
The Minister said, “The commissioning today is a testament to the impressive policy drive of President Buhari. He is the only president that has put extra-budgetary funds into the sector to develop it.”
The Fire Assay laboratory is the first of its type in Nigeria and is considered the most reliable means for accurately determining the content of gold, silver, and platinum-group metals in ores or concentrates. The Minister further noted that the Laboratory was a crucial analytical infrastructure needed in the mining sector to accurately determine the concentrates of precious metals in ore, noting that the development was bound to take the mining sector to the next level.
Adegbite noted that the establishment of a Fire Assay laboratory was a crucial step towards making the country a major mining destination.
“We now have the analytical facilities that can support the mining ecosystem in the country and this is bound to attract more foreign interest in the sector,” he said.
He also noted that the Fire Assay Laboratory would save the country millions of dollars spent outside the country to conduct such analysis on metal ores.
“With the establishment of a fire Assay laboratory, we do not need to take metal ores out of the country to determine the level of concentrate of precious metals, thereby expending our scarce foreign exchange in other countries. This facility will free up the scarce foreign exchange, while it would also serve as a revenue generator for the government as companies who want to mine precious metals will no longer need to send samples out of the country, but now send them to our laboratory in Kaduna, which would be a source of revenue generation for the government.
“Indeed we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving this sector the fillip and the push it deserves to become a choice mining destination in the mining world. No other administration has allocated the resources that this present administration has to the mining sector, and for that we are grateful,” he noted.
Speaking about the earthquake monitoring equipment, the Minister noted that it was important for monitoring and measuring tremors.
The Director-General of Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, who corroborated the Minister’s position on the importance of a Fire Assay laboratory disclosed that some companies involved in the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP), the programme had spent millions of dollars to obtain such analysis outside the country.
“About two companies did fire essay analysis outside the country just to determine the metal content of what they are doing, for example, gold, content. The companies in between them spent about two million dollars. If half of that came into the NGSA we would have been able to achieve internally generated revenue for the sector, we would have also been able to save the capital flight,’ he said.
The Fire Assay laboratory is owned by the National Geosciences Research Laboratory Centre Kaduna, which is under the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, an agency under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.