Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake.

We’ll Soon Deliver New Mining Corporation to Nigerians – Alake

30th April 2024

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, on Monday disclosed the delivery of a brand new mining corporation to Nigerians that would galvanize the nation’s solid minerals sector.

Alake made this known in his remarks at the opening ceremony of a 2-day roundtable summit on the development of the mining industry in Nigeria with the theme ‘Sustainable Development of the Mining Industry in Nigeria’, organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in partnership with Bruit Costaud, in Abuja.

Alake also said the Tinubu-led administration was already recording success in the solid minerals sector, disclosing that the President would soon perform a milestone event in the mining sector, which was on the heels of the collaboration by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and the Nasarawa State Government.

He also expressed optimism that a trillion-dollar economy projected by the President was achievable and would surpass it based on the enormous solid minerals resources as well as in other sectors.

Alake also made it known that 150 mining cooperatives had been established as a way to curb illegal mining, adding that the recent initiative on drafting mine marshals was yielding positive results, while saboteurs and their sponsors were being arrested.

He, however, said the ministry had declared that companies who wanted to invest in the mining sector should also add value to the minerals, saying if not, they would not be granted licences, and it is on the heels to stop the ‘Pit to Port’ phenomenon, where solid minerals were mined and exported raw.

That era, under the Tinubu-led administration, had ended, the minister noted.

He said: “The President has given us the mandate to re-organise the sector from exploration to production and processing with the ultimate objective of making it a key contributor to the national economy. Nigeria is prime to become the new global mining destination and together we will make this vision a reality.

“The National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS deserves commendation for prioritising the mining sector and appreciating its strategic value in the plans of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Administration to diversify the economy.

“As the foremost government Think-Tank, this stakeholders’ roundtable will enrich NIPSS’ analysis of the sector and recommendations on the steps to be taken to enable the sector to deliver on its mandate.

“We have made giant strides in achieving the above-set goals. At the level of legislation, the Committee on Solid Minerals Development has initiated the enactment of an act of the National Assembly on the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation.

“We are working with consultants to ensure the smooth emergence of the corporation. a private sector-led limited liability company with a clear mandate of engaging in the business of mining across the entire value chain upstream to the downstream.

“Our vision for the company is that it will create some of the stability the sector requires and spur other private sector activity by catalyzing investment inflow across the entire sector.

“Our idea of a Mining Police to enforce mining laws and combat all illegal mining activities has been realised through the establishment of the Mining Marshals, a 2,160-man elite paramilitary force from the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps with the support of the Ministry of Interior.

“Each of the 36 states has a 60-man rapid response team on ground. I wish to disclose that miners disturbed by illegal miscreants and communities hitherto terrorised by illegal miners in Osun, Kwara and Kogi are being rescued as we speak”, he said.

In conclusion, Alake said he expected to receive a comprehensive report after the summit for the review of his ministry and relevant agencies.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr Abdullahi Sule, said in his remarks that soon, the Tinubu-led administration would commission the largest lithium processing company in Nigeria.

“Indeed, solid minerals is the way to go. The lithium is the direction go. The President is going to commission the biggest lithium factory so far in Nigeria, and it is going to be processing 4,000 metric tonnes of lithium per day, transporting over a million tonnes a year”, Sule said.

He also made it known that another site of lithium had been discovered in Nasarawa that was bigger than others discovered in his state.

Earlier, the Director-General, National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Prof Ayo Omotayo, in a welcome address, explained why it became necessary to have the brainstorming summit with stakeholders from various federal ministries, agencies, state governments, security agencies and investors, which he added was basically to plug into Mr President’s ‘Renewed Hope’ Agenda.

According to Omotayo, in doing this, they had recognized six critical sectors, saying one of them was the mining sector.

“The main purpose of this brainstorm session is to plug into Mr President’s new hope agenda. In doing this we have recognized six critical sectors and one of them is the mining sector.

“Having in mind the Renewed Hope Agenda of Mr President, we must do all we can to take our country to greater heights by ensuring that the critical mining sector contributes it’s own share of 1 trillion Dollar economy in very few years to ahead. The question is can we achieve the promise of a trillion dollar economy if the mining sector performs optimally.

“The outcomes of our deliberation will be shared with the critically impacted ministries”, he said.

Meanwhile, in his opening remark, former minister of Information and Managing Partner, Bruit Costaud, Lai Mohammed, said, “In today’s complex landscape, the convergence of public and private interests was paramount for driving sustainable growth.

“Therefore, at Bruit Costaud, we are committed to fostering meaningful dialogue and cooperation among diverse stakeholders, transcending traditional barriers and fostering a culture of mutual understanding and collaboration. Our aim is to get these stakeholders to stop talking at one another and embrace the culture of talking to one another.”

In a keynote address titled ‘Sustainable Development of the Mining Industry in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects’, Prof Akinade Olatunji, pointed out that the issue of political will remained paramount to change the narrative in the minerals sector and should be the driving force.

Olatunji said: “The Nigerian Mineral and Mining sector should move from the touted potential to actual benefits for the growth of the nation.

“I believe the time is ripe and that the political will is there to ensure that this sector takes its pride of place in the development of the economic status of Nigeria.”

In a goodwill message, the National President, Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, ‘Dele Ayanleke, called for urgent deployment of proactive strategies to address existing challenges, including unregulated regulations, uncoordinated and free-for-all regulatory regime, and others.

“It is our considered opinion, that if proactive strategies are not urgently deployed, the next stream of challenges, which are already plaguing the sector, will be orchestrated by unregulated regulations being foisted on the sector at the moment.

“The present anarchic regime reigning in the sector is an evil wind that will blow no one any good. In fact, if allowed to full blown, it might worsen the situation they intend to address, because it will bring alongside it a constitutional crisis of grave economic consequences”, he said.