Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, says Nigeria is determined to play prominent role in the world mining industry.
The minister stated this in a statement issued by Mrs. Idowu Jokpeyibo on behalf of the ministry`s director of press on Sunday in Abuja.
Jokpeyibo said the minister gave the assurance when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Mines and Steel.
Adegbite said that the ministry has worked out modalities to improve on efforts and legacies of successive ministers.
He noted that the initiatives of past ministers have come into fruition, especially in the establishment of agencies such as the mining cadastre office and the Nigeria Geological Survey Agencies (NGSA).
The minister said part of the mandate of the ministry is to diversify the economy and tap into the rich mineral resources of the country to create employment and wealth.
He said agencies under the ministry were undergoing reforms to ensure optimal performance, adding that potentials and challenges in the ministry were being identified.
This, the minister said, is to ensure that the agencies perform optimally, while the activities of the mining cadastre office and the Nigeria Geological Survey Agencies were being computerised to enable investors access data on the country`s minerals deposit from any part of the world.
The minister said the ministry is adopting strategies to organise artisanal miners into cooperatives to enable them benefit from various government programs, especially in areas of training on safer mining practices and accessing funding.
He said the federal government has created legitimate buying centres to enable miners sell at the prevalent market price to prevent exploitation of small scale miners.
The minister appealed to the committee to assist by increasing funds allocation to the sector.
Chairman of the House Committee, Rep. Michael Enyong, promised that the committee would support the ministry to ensure that government`s programmes and policies in solid minerals was achieved.
He said the committee would intensify efforts to address the challenges confronting the mining sector and ensure that the country`s steel industry worked.
“We are aware that industrialisation of Nigeria is solely dependent on the steel industry. We will support the ministry by way of legislation and active interaction,’’ the lawmaker added.