Monday, 24 February 2014

Reforms on Solid Mineral Sector to generate employment, investments, and wealth for thousands of people across the country.

Nigeria’s large and untapped solid mineral deposits encompass over 34 mineral types situated in about 450 different locations across the country. Nigeria is truly endowed with several varieties of solid minerals such as metallic minerals, mineral fuel, gemstones, precious metals and dimension stone. But as of the end of the first quarter of 2010, its contribution to GDP was an abysmal 0.29%. Yet, this government believed that the sector had the potential to generate employment, investments, and wealth for thousands of people across the country.

Specific Reforms
Consequent upon the determination that this sector was not performing as well as it could, the government set out to deliberately change the trajectory of the solid minerals sector through specific reforms, including:

-       New Mineral Policy: Development of a new minerals policy to encourage greater private sector participation in an environment of orderly and sustainable exploitation of solid minerals in Nigeria. The focus of this policy is to take full advantage of the rise in commodity prices in the global market and to achieve a substantial increase in the contribution of the sector to Nigeria’s GDP. As part of this policy, the government also planned to produce a comprehensive and high quality geosciences data and formalise the existence of Artisanal and Small Mining (ASM) operators.

-       Minerals and Mining Act: Continue and improve upon the minerals and mining act of 2007 to ensure security of tenure, competitive fiscal terms, and private sector participation in the sector.

-       Commerce44: A policy initiative to actively promote the exports of the following eleven solid minerals: Tantalite, Coal, Gold, Silver, Ilmenite-Rutile, Cassiterite, Bitumen, Lead-Zinc, Iron-Ore, Wolframite and Manganese.

-       Mining Cadastre Office (MCO): To administer mining titles with integrity and transparency on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis.

-       Fiscal Incentives: Actively pursue and design attractive fiscal incentives for the solid mineral sector as a way of ensuring that the private sector is recognised as the owner and operator of Nigeria’s solid mineral resources.

Specific Outcomes and Results
- Despite lingering challenges, the sector has produced fairly reasonable results.
Geosciences Data Generation: The government has completed the preparation of several comprehensive geosciences data set, which is critical to investment decisions in the sector. In particular, the government has produced the following:

-       -  Two data bases, 27 new geological maps on 1:100,000 scale to bring the total from 70 to 97 and 37 maps on 1:5,000 and 1:10,000 scale for iron ore, coal, and ferrous-alloy minerals.

-      -  Airborne magnetic survey of the entire country and airborne radiometric survey of required areas.

-       - Geochemical mapping of four Global Reference Network Cells bringing the total of areas mapped to eight.

-      -  Produced 2,385 interpreted airborne geophysical maps.

-       - Mapped 37, 1:50,000 sheets made up of 31 sheets mapped in the NE-SE Axis Nigeria-Cameroon Mapping Programme and six sheets in the zonal mapping programme.

-      -  Upgraded and equipped to world-class status, the Geosciences Research Laboratories in Kaduna

-       - Discovered high-grade iron ore resources assaying over 50% Fe in Gidan Jaja (Zamfara) Lamba (Bauchi), Gidan Buzu (Yobe), Jaruwa (Kaduna), Tama (Katsina), Ebiya and Agbado Okudu (Kogi State).

-       - Drilled 23 core holes aimed at generating reliable geosciences data on iron ore (Jaruwa), gold (Bishini) and coal (Lafia-Obi) as well as facilitated the drilling of over 500 core holes by the private sector in the course of their exploration activities.

-       - Disseminated of 1,073 geological maps and geophysical data sheets. Produced 4 1: 250,000 Sheets namely: 21 (Zaria), 43 (Abuja), 51 (Lafiaji) and 62 (Akure). Signed MoU with FUGRO for the use of their portal to disseminate geosciences data online
-       New Minerals Found: Ten additional minerals have been discovered in commercially viable quantities. This brings the total from 34 to 44. 

      These minerals include: Sallimanite for the production of refractories and spark plugs; Chromite, Cobaltite, Vanadinite and Stibnite, which are essential for alloy steel production; Chalcopyrite (Copper), Lanthanum, Pentlandite (Platinum) are specialty minerals with high global demand; Uraninite (Uranium); and Energy Mineral.

-       Enforced Compliance with Provisions of Nigerian Mining and Minerals Act (2007) and its Regulations:

Established Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) as an autonomous agency to administer and manage mineral titles in line with international best practices.      
1.    Computerised the processes and procedures of granting mineral titles
2.    Using the ‘use it or lose it’ principle of Title Administration, the previous over 10,000 dormant and inactive titles were cleaned up into active and productive mineral rights
3.    Granted 3,007 active mineral titles during the period under review.
4.    Revoked all non-performing mineral titles resulting in increased revenue generation and increased activities by Mineral Title Owners as shown by the recent NEITI Audit thus creating more jobs.

-       Increased Steel and Metals Production: Commenced and achieved 30% rehabilitation works on NIOMCO beneficiation line 2; and 91% installation works of NIOMCO super-concentrate plant. Supported the construction and expansion of steel production by privately – owned steel production companies including:

1.    700,000tpa WEMPCO Steel Plant cold rolling mill
2.    500,000tpa billet mill African Foundry Ltd Lagos
3.    150,000tpa cold rolling mill under construction at KAM Industries, Ilorin
4.    Construction of 150,000 tpa Rolling Mill at Abuja by African Foundries
5.    Expansion of Total Steel Rolling Mill at Kaduna to 100,000tpa
6.    Facilitated the production of 2.45million tonnes of steel products by private steel operators

-       - Established a data base on Steel production and operating companies.

-       - Developed and reviewed a draft Metallurgical Bill and submitted to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation for further review.

-       - Steel Company (ASCL) and NIOMCO Itakpe being re-oriented towards operationalisation with zero Government funding.

-       - MOU with REPROM Nig. Ltd for the operation of the Light Section Mill and Thermal Power Plant of ASCL.

-       - Completed repairs of NIOMCO’s Bergeaud Plant to be used in producing Piecoat for the oil and gas sector.

-      -  MOU being developed with ZSM/MZV for the operation of Wire Rod Mill and Engineering Workshops of ASCL.

-       - Attained 90% completion of Process Flowsheet Developments for the extraction of lead-zinc, tantalum-niobium and production of high alloy steel components and cast components at NMDC, Jos.

-      -  Facilitated the use of the local sand for foundry castings through the research efforts of the NMDC, Jos thereby saving the country significant foreign exchange.

- Promotion of Nigeria’s Minerals and Metals Potentials through the following:
1. Established Minerals and Metals Promotion Unit in the Ministry to inter-phase with relevant departments & agencies aimed at providing necessary information to investors.
2. Established working relationship with Governments and Organisations of the following countries - Canada, Australia China leading to, amongst others
3. Ministry staff enjoying study tours and training sponsored by Australian Government.
4. Signing of MOU with China on collaboration in Geosciences data generation and technology transfer

5. Nigeria Canada Mining Summit aimed at Technology Transfer in Clean Coal and Technology and bitumen exploitation.

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