Champion Newspapers Limited
For a better society

Foreigners milking Nigeria dry from solid minerals, Nasarawa Gov cries out

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

.Insecurity, inadequate infrastructure stalling mining sector growth – Dep. Speaker, Kalu

 .Laments nation’s untapped vast mineral resources

30
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

 

Jonas Ezieke, Abuja

 

Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has said that non-Nigerians operating in the nation’s solid minerals sector are earning big, leaving the citizens with peanuts.

 

Sule stated this at a public policy dialogue on Nigeria’s minerals and mining legislation, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Solid Minerals at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, on Monday.

 

He called for institutional reforms to turn around the fortunes of the sector for the benefit of Nigerians.

 

He said, “One community in Nasarawa got some kind of compensation of a very small amount of N700m. They were so excited but this was nothing compared to the time when lithium was running roughly about $76,000  per metric ton.

“If we are serious about the future of the economic situation of Nigeria, we must reform what we call the solid mineral sector and if we must reform, we must come up with policies and reform them to benefit Nigerians. If we don’t do that, we will just be joking.”

 

The Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals, Jonathan Gaza said the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill being considered proposes five per cent of the total revenue of all minerals mined to the host communities.

 

He said the bill, when passed, will allow for the establishment of a Mines Inspection and Environmental Agency to provide improved deeper oversight of mining activities and bridge the gap between the Federal and State Governments to empower the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee for effective and joint oversight.

 

 

“The establishment bill for a Solid Minerals Development Company allocates 75 per cent ownership to the private sector and 25 per cent to the federation of Nigeria. Community Development and the Environment are really prioritised in the bill. The Petroleum Industry Act sets aside 3 per cent of their annual operational expenditure to host communities.

 

“In the bill, we have set aside 5 per cent of the revenue of all minerals mined to the host communities, and this is due to informality of the sector. We believe that it can be reviewed and improved through this programme,” he stated.

 

Declaring the dialogue open, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu said the bill if passed, will mark a turning point for the nation’s mineral wealth, stressing that the nation’s vast mineral resources have remained largely untapped, and undeservedly ignored by reliance on oil.

 

Kalu pointed out that the challenges of insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of skilled manpower have continued to work against the development of the solid mineral sector, adding that the challenges would be addressed by the proposed amendment bill.

 

“Despite boasting over 40 commercially viable minerals, the mining sector contributes a mere 0.3 per cent to our Gross Domestic Product. Our duty call today is to turn the tide. There are indications of a renewed vigour in our mining industry, fueled by a collective will to diversify our economy, create jobs, and unlock the immense potential that lies beneath our soil.

 

“The 2016-2025 Mining Industry Development Roadmap, aiming to increase the sector’s GDP contribution to 3 per cent by 2025, is already showing progress. Projects like the Segilola Gold Project in Osun State governed by a private-sector-led lens are injecting millions of dollars into our economy and attracting much-needed investment,” he stressed.

.Insecurity, inadequate infrastructure stalling mining sector growth – Dep. Speaker, Kalu

 .Laments nation’s untapped vast mineral resources

 

Also, The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu on Monday stated that insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of skilled labour have continued to act as bottlenecks hampering the growth of Nigeria’s mining sector.

 

Kalu made the assertion while delivering his address at a Public Policy Dialogue on Nigeria’s Minerals and Mining Legislation in Abuja.

 

He said that the nation’s vast mineral resources have remained largely untapped, and undeservedly overshadowed by our too much reliance on oil.

 

Kalu said that despite boasting over 40 commercially viable minerals, the mining sector contributes a mere 0.3% to the country’s GDP, saying it is unacceptable.

 

He therefore called all hands to be on deck to turn the tide.

 

Making reference to a Bill he co-sponsored with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Solid Mineral, Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi titled Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill as well as eight other mining bills, Kalu said that the bills when passed into law will represent a turning point for the nation’s mineral wealth.

 

The Deputy Speaker also noted that governments hold many of the levers to deal with the great challenges, adding however, that businesses have the innovation, technology, and talents to deliver the needed solutions.

 

Kalu also opined that the governing philosophy in the mining sector in Nigeria should henceforth be approached with a private-sector-led lens, stressing that it is through this crucial partnership that the true potential of Nigeria’s mining sector can be unlocked.

 

He said “This public policy dialogue is engineered to create the appropriate right of way for the necessary adjustments and policymaking creativity that is required to optimize the promising prospects of Nigeria’s mining sector.

 

Today, I stand before you not only as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives but also as a co-sponsor of the HB.751: Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (Amendment) Bill so ably sponsored by Hon. Jonathan Gbefwi. This legislation if passed will represent a turning point for our nation’s mineral wealth.

 

“There are indications of a renewed vigor in our mining industry, fueled by a collective will to diversify our economy, create jobs, and unlock the immense potential that lies beneath our soil. The 2016-2025 mining industry development roadmap, aiming to increase the sector’s GDP contribution to 3% by 2025, is already showing progress. Projects like the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state governed by a private-sector-led lens are injecting millions of dollars into our economy and attracting much-needed investment.

 

“To demonstrate this concisely, in the 3rd quarter of 2023, the Segilola Gold mine in Osun state, Nigeria’s first industrial-scale gold mine posted $118 million in revenue for its owners, Thor Explorations Limited after reporting $71.7 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in 2022 according to its publicly available financial statements for 2022 and 2023.

 

Initiatives like the simplification of licensing and competitive royalty regimes attract global players like Thor Explorations, showcasing the potential for an industrial-scale mining sector. However, challenges remain. Insecurity, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of skilled labor continue to act as bottlenecks. This is where the HB.751 and eight other mining-related bills currently under consideration come in.

 

“They are not just amendments; they are a comprehensive reform package designed to address these challenges and propel our mining sector into the future. Here’s what these bills aim to achieve: Enhanced security: By fostering collaboration between mining companies, communities, and security agencies, we can create a safer environment for investment and development.

 

Infrastructure development: We are committed to investing in critical infrastructure like roads, railways, and power, making mine operations more efficient and cost-effective.

 

Skilled workforce development: We are building partnerships with educational institutions and industry leaders to equip Nigerians with the skills they need to thrive in this sector. Streamlined regulation:

 

The new legislation will simplify bureaucratic processes, reduce red tape, and create a more transparent and predictable regulatory environment.

 

I urge all stakeholders– government, businesses, communities, and civil society– to join hands and work together to make this vision a reality. Let us leverage the power of partnerships, innovation, and technology to unlock the true potential of our mineral wealth. The time for action is now.”

Comments are closed.