Abuja — As part of its contributions to boost the solid mineral sector, the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) has pledged to work closely with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to establish a $600 million investment fund for the sector in the shortest possible time.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSE, Mr. Oscar Onyema, made the pledge yesterday in his goodwill message to the ongoing national mining summit holding in Abuja.
Onyema said that the sector holds a bright future for economic diversification drive of government to create jobs for the people as well as increase revenue earnings for government.
"For the Nigerian Mining Sector, current statistics present an immense opportunity for growth, today, the sector accounts for 0.02 per cent of exports, 0.3 per cent of national employment and contributes 0.5 per cent an estimated $2.0 billion to the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), this representation pales in comparison to global trends for the sector in 2015."
Commenting on the summit theme: "Unearthing Nigeria's mining sector," Onyema said that it is unfortunate that the Nigerian Economy is at a critical juncture of its economic recovery from the worst economic recession in recent times stressing that it is expected that the summit will provide the frame work for a sustainable and enabling environment for the continued growth and development of the Mining Sector and for the diversification of the nation's economy in general.
He urged stakeholders to take advantage of the vast resources available in the stock market to invest in the sector.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Solid Mineral Development Fund (SMDF), Fatima Umar Shinkafi, said Nigeria has lost gold valued at $500 million to activities of artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Zamfara, Niger and other states where the commodity has been discovered.
She said, besides economic losses, 400 persons have died in Zamfara State as a result of lead poison, adding that artisanal mining is poverty driven, and government should create alternative for illegal miners.
To her, foreigners are waiting in hotels' rooms to collect our mineral resources, and give our artisanal miners a token for their labour, while going back to sell the commodities in dollars.
Delivering a paper on Artisanal Mining: Past, Present and Future, UNIDO Director in Nigeria, Mr. Jean Bakole, said about 100 million people and their families depend on artisanal mining in the globe.
He stated that small-scale mining is practiced in at least 80 countries worldwide, and their scale production supply accounts for 80 per cent of sapphire, 20 per cent of gold and diamond mining global.
On minerals dispersion within some African countries, Bakole stated, in this context, as we may know, Nigeria has a number of key minerals such as gold, coal, bitumen, limestone, zinc, lead, iron ore and Bauxite."
Director of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, Mr. Patrick Ojeka hinted that Chinese nationals have entered into the sector here, and government should not leave artisanal business in the hands of operators.
President/Founder of Women in Mining, Mrs. J.F.Adeyemi said, "real mining has not begun in Nigeria, because China does not mine tin, but have it, gold is not mined in Dubai yet, they have it, as a result we lost in terms of revenue."
President of Miners Association of Nigeria, Shehu Sani maintained that artisanal miners have great potentials to grow the economy, but there should be reformation aimed at supporting African Mining Vision (AMV).