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The minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has explained how the federal government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development secured N45.7 billion ($150m at 305 official rates) support from the World Bank for the mineral sector support for Economic Diversification (MSSED or MinDiver) scheme.
Making the revelation in his address at a session organised to look at the Nigerian Mining Sector Year 2016 in Review and Projections for Year 2017, Dr Fayemi said “A critical component of the support is to provide technical assistance for the restructuring and operationalisation of the Solid Minerals Development Mining Investment Fund, which would make finance available to ASM operators through development finance, micro-finance and leasing institutions”.
“The fund will also help to bring back on stream previously abandoned proven mining projects like tin ore, iron ore, coal, gold and lead-zinc among others.”
According to the minister, “We have improved the productivity of the sector by tripling the ministry’s contribution to the federation account to about N2Bn in 2016, up from N700M in 2015”
“Increased productivity in our mining space has also led to significant discovery of mineral deposits, the most noteworthy being the large find of high-grade nickel a few months ago in Dangoma, Kaduna state by an Australian mining company operating in Nigeria.
He said already government had constructed 10 Prototype Mineral Buying Centres across the country for specific strategic industrial minerals, explaining that “The centres are to serve as standardisation centres to enable ASM Cooperatives and operators receive fair premium for their labour. With renewed determination to strengthen collaborative efforts with State governments in natural resource governance, the PMBCs are being ceded to state governments”.
“Out of the 10, Zamfara, Benue, Ebonyi and Sokoto states have expressed interest and the centres are been transferred to them.
He listed some of the teething challenges of the sector to include insufficient funding, lack of geological data, weak institutional capacity and limited supporting infrastructure.
Additional problems hobbling the sector according to him cut across limited cooperative federalism, low productivity, illegal mining, host community challenges and poor ease of doing business.
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