The Federal Government has announced the appointment of a transaction adviser to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe, all in Kogi State.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who made this known today, November 1, at the opening of the 6th Edition of the Nigerian Mining Week in Abuja, where he represented President Muhammadu Buhari as the Special Guest of Honour, said that the process is ongoing.
“Our commitment is to break the jinx and actualize the dream of a vibrant steel sector.”
Professor Osinbajo emphasized the “huge priority” the government of President Muhammadu Buhari gives to the development of the steel sector, saying: “our vision for an industrialised nation cannot be achieved without a vibrant steel sector.
“We understand the huge demand for steel and iron in our domestic markets and across the sub-region. This is why we prioritized the resolution of all the issues constraining the full operation of the Ajaokuta Steel company.
The Vice President stressed the a fully developed steel sector will not only surpass other sectors of the economy in terms of export earnings, it will also create more lucrative jobs and opportunities for many Nigerians.
Steel sector, he added: “will stimulate industrial growth as a local source of raw materials and improve the quality of lives in rural communities.”
He said that since Buhari came into office in 2015, he had continually prioritized the development of the country’s mineral resources as one of the frontiers for economic growth.
“This led to the comprehensive Roadmap for the Growth and Development of the Nigerian Mining Sector and we have steadily followed the steps set out in the roadmap. So far, we can say without fear of contradiction that this administration has committed more resources to the development of the mining sector than any other government in the history of this country.
“Government will continue to intensify its regulatory and supervisory role in ensuring that mining is held to the highest standards of sustainable development and intergenerational equity.”
The Vice President called for more responsibility and accountability from public and private sector entities to ensure sustainable development and mitigate the effects of climate change.
“The extraction of mineral commodities entails considerable impact on land, water, air and other environmental assets that are central to human living, both now and in the future. The painful experience of the negative impact of oil and gas exploitation in the Niger Delta cannot be ignored. Therefore, all operators in the mining sector are obliged by law ethics, and our responsibility for the future, to ensure that proper environmental, social and governance principles are practiced in the sector.”
Osinbajo acknowledged that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has achieved some milestones and commended the Minister, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, and other stakeholders in providing a conducive environment for investment.
The Vice President noted that the organization of informal miners into productive work groups is another landmark activity for the Ministry.
“The Ministry has increased the formalisation of mining activities and stimulated downstream development by the establishment of a gemstones and Jewellery Marketing Centre in Oyo State, Gold Ore processing plant in Kogi State, a Gold Souk in Kano State, and the construction of a Barite plant in Cross River State, as well as Kaoline plant in Bauchi State and a Lead/Zinc processing plant in Ebonyi State.
“The aim of these clusters is to provide direct and indirect economic opportunities for many Nigerians,” the VP added.
In his remarks, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite said that environmental impact is critical in sustainable mineral development, saying: “Government has maintained a consistent environmental surveillance and green mining practices to ensure minimum damage to the environment.
“The Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) has been strengthened and the Ministry is keeping constant dialogue with committees in almost all the states of the country.
“The Committees have the responsibility of monitoring mining activities in the states including addressing issues of compensation and community relations.”
At the event, the Vice President commissioned the on-line innovation, the Electronic Mining Cadastre Plus of the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office.