01 July 2021By Georgina Humphrey
The ministry of Mines and Steel Development has adopted a forward-thinking approach to develop strategic minerals of the future.
The Minister, Olamilekan Adegbite made this known at the maiden edition of the strategic engagement on sustainable mining organized by the ministry with Nigeria’s local government chairmen and other critical mining stakeholders in Abuja.
Adegbite said these include minor metals such as titanium and cobalt, which are vital to futuristic industries such as telecoms and electric vehicle manufacturing.
He said most of the reforms initiated by his team have yielded the needed results adding that some of the achievements have helped to de-risk the sector, thus making it investor friendly.
“We have operationalised an Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) Remote Sensing Monitoring System to regulate and support ASM activities” Adegbite said
The mines and steel minister explained that plans are on to complete the automation of the Mining Cadastre System to meet international standards for online mining title, license applications and approvals to decentralize the Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) administrative system.
He added that the ministry is currently establishing a Nigeria Geo Data Centre at the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) to ease online access to correct geological reports and data for investment decisions and research.
“The recent establishment of the Investment Promotion and Mineral Trade Department demonstrates the ministry zeal and preparedness to welcome global investment partners.
The minister therefore encouraged LGAs to take advantage of this vital department any Chairman can walk up to the department to make enquiries about the minerals that have caught the attention of foreign investors as the ministry has put in place incentives to support investors and unlock the sector.
He listed the incentives to include Customs and import duties waiver for plant, machinery and equipment imported for mining operations and Tax holidays of between three to five years as applicable.
Others are Free transferability of funds and permission to retain and use earned foreign exchange
Capital allowances of up to 95% of qualifying capital expenditure
Deductibility of Environmental Costs (money meant for environmental remediation will be tax free) and 100% ownership of mineral properties.
He explained that some of the ongoing initiatives put in to boost the sector is the optimisation of the nation’s mineral value chain with the ultimate objective to minimise the export of raw materials, creating value along the chain that would increase industrial and manufacturing activities, create employment and foster skills development.
Adegbite added that Presently the ministry’s priority is anchored in the gold sector by creating a gold ecosystem to minimize the high rate of illegal gold mining and smuggling, increase government’s revenue from the resource, create jobs, and improve environmental and social stewardship.
“Through the ongoing Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative (PAGMI) we are organising, formalising, and equipping Artisanal and Small Gold Miners (ASGMs) in Kaduna, Kebbi, Osun, Niger, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Gombe, and Ekiti” Adegbite said.
According to the minister Miners of gold and other metals would be linked to formal markets through licensed precious metals buying centres.
He stated that One of such initiatives is the recently launched Dukia-Heritage Bank Buying Centre stressing that Two gold refineries, Kian Smith and Dukia Gold and Precious Metals Refining Company Limited, are currently being built to increase the value of gold in the country for the benefit of all stakeholders.
“We are fast-tracking mineral processing in the country using a cluster approach. Each cluster will be equipped with modern equipment and technologies to support a network of miners, processors, skills development providers, logistics providers” he added.
He therefore promised that Miners will be able to access long-term finance at concessionary rates through these instruments.