THE Federal Government, on Monday, announced its readiness to make mining sector more competitive in the global mining space and relevant to the domestic needs and strategic sovereign goals in 2017, in line with its roadmap to focus on priority areas of competitive advantage to drive the nation’s growth.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said this at the end of year press conference, public presentation of the roadmap, as well as inauguration of Mining Implementation Strategic Team (MIST) and inauguration of project vehicles, at the ministry’s complex, Abuja.
He said that Nigeria’s priority minerals would be those for which data existed around their continued commercial viability
Seven of such mineral resources, according to him, include iron ore, coal, bitumen, limestone, zinc, gold and barite, which have been identified as key for Nigeria’s domestic industrialisation and infrastructure requirements.
Dr Fayemi stressed further that selective emphasis would be placed on other mineral assets that were critical to existing downstream projects, promising that before the end of the first quarter of 2017, the bitumen blocks would be available for interested investors to bid.
“Nigeria will initially focus on the domestic market, trading ore and processed materials to domestic buyers at a quality level comparable to imported materials to win market share from imports. As global commodity markets recover, Nigeria will then seek to serve both domestic and export markets. Nigeria will also seek to exploit its mineral assets in such a way as to preserve and extend the life of its holdings for future generations and manage cash earnings carefully.
“Nigeria will focus on building a competitive enabling environment and sector for all entrants, rather than attempt to pre-select winners and losers. While an explicit bias will be in place to encourage formalisation of artisanal miners, the broader goal is to encourage a competitive industry structure.
“Nigeria’s initial customer focus is to serve companies and end users that already purchase minerals and process materials from offshore sources. These will include customers in the cement, oil, power and industrial sectors. For instance, substituting imports of coal with domestically sourced coal, would be an example of such a step,” he said.