The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, said concession plans for Ajaokuta Steel Complex and Itakpe mining company are ongoing.
He said the fully-developed mines and steel sector would not only surpass other sectors of the economy in terms of export earnings but would also create lucrative jobs and opportunities for many Nigerians.
Osinbajo stated 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.
“To this end, a transaction adviser has been appointed to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Company and the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe. The selection process is ongoing. Our commitment is to break the jinx and actualise the dream of a vibrant steel sector,” he said.
He noted that the steel sector “will stimulate industrial growth as a local source of raw materials and improve the quality of lives in rural communities.”
Assuring of the government’s commitment to supporting mining activities towards shared prosperity for the Nigerian people, the VP observed that the event was “a very significant complement to our vision and sustained effort to accelerate the growth of the mining sector as a major contributor to Nigeria’s economic diversification programme.”
“This is why the Federal 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 VP added.
Prof. Osinbajo observed that the mining sector had always needed a transformational leap to contribute meaningfully to the envisioned economic growth of the country.
He added that the Buhari administration’s commitment towards developing the country’s steel sector had continued to record significant gains over the years.
“We are proud that the indices of development in the sector are rapidly changing. Part of these is the increased revenue generation and, of course, the unprecedented investment interest that the industry has attracted in the past few years.”
The VP noted that “Nigeria, for the first time, has a world-class gold mine in Segilola, Osun State, operated by Thor Exploration, while Eta Zuma Mining and Industries Limited and Mosra Enerji Limited are mining and supplying the coal needs of Dangote and Bua Cement factories.”
Continuing, Osinbajo said, “in the steel industry, African Natural Resources and Mines limited, owners of the Kagarko Integrated Steel plant, is about to produce liquid steel from its iron ore mine in Kaduna State.
“Several other investors are at different stages of mine development in various parts of the country, and these strategic milestones will hopefully catalyse more mining investment in the country.”
The Vice President emphasised that the development of the steel sector remained a huge priority for the administration.
According to him, “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.”
He disclosed that since the administration came into office in 2015, it had prioritised 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,” the Vice President said.
While he noted that “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 urged 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.”