The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, says the Federal Government plans to stop exportation of unprocessed solid minerals by October.
Fayemi made this known in Abuja on Thursday when delivering a lecture on “Nigeria’s Solid Minerals: Prospects and Challenges and the Nation’s Quest for Economic Diversification” at the induction training for non-career ambassadors-designate.
The minister urged the ambassadors designate to attract investors into the mining sector of the economy.
He said that the plan to stop mining and exportation of raw or unprocessed solid minerals from the country was part of the ministry’s roadmap.
“Before now, a lot of illegality has been going in the sector.
“People are just shipping out raw minerals; this has informed the government’s policy or decision to place a ban on unprocessed minerals.
“In the next six months, raw minerals will not be allowed to be exported,” he said.
The minister said that any miner ready to invest in the sector must be willing to set up processing plants in host communities to create jobs for the people.
Fayemi said that those that could not afford setting up plants by themselves should collaborate with others.
He said that that the enforcement of the ban would not be done arbitrarily as the investors would be given time to establish their processing plants.
The minister also called for the partnership of the state governments in the development of the mining sector.
The minister said, although, mining was in the exclusive legislative list in the country’s constitution, there was the need for collaboration with the states.
He said states could also set up their mining companies as there was no law precluding states with enormous resources from doing that.
The minister said that the state could then approach the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steels Development for license to explore and exploit such resources.
According to him, states can do it solely or in partnership with private investors depending on the technical capacity.
Fayemi said that there was need for partnership with host communities and states to achieve results because the fact remained that mining took place in locations in states.
He said this was necessary, especially with the economic diversification drive of the current administration.
Fayemi said that the right to issuance of consent given to host communities had been abused over the years, adding that the intervention by the state governments was paramount.
The minister said that state governments would be included in the affirmation of genuine land owners with regards to issuance of consent to miners as required by the law.
“We are a mineral rich country; we are not mineral producing country, what we are doing in our roadmap is to take few of the mineral so that we can say we have advantages.
“We believe that we can achieve full import substitution in some of these minerals; we have achieved that in lime stone.
“We can also do that in bitumen because Nigeria is the third largest reserve of bitumen in the world after Canada and Venezuela, yet 80 per cent of bitumen used in the country is imported.
“The same thing goes with coal, coal is another source of power and it is an easier way of producing power and we have clean coal in Nigeria.”
Fayemi said that his ministry was partnering with the ministry of power to ensure that Nigeria generated at least 30 per cent of its energy from coal. (NAN)