First Northern Nigeria’s Solid minerals fair gets Stakeholders’ Support

About eight federal agencies and 12 state governments have confirmed their participation at the First Northern Nigeria Solid Minerals Fair and Workshop slated for Kaduna next week.

Corporate giants on board include Bank of Industry (BoI), Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC).

Ministry of Mines and Steel Development as well as Ministry of Budget and National Planning have also assured of support for the specialised fair.

The fair, which is the first of its kind in the solid minerals endowed north, is scheduled to draw attention of relevant stakeholders to available opportunities in the sector.

Organisers of the event, the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture in collaboration with Proedge Limited, stated that the fair would provide a platform for stakeholders to be abreast of best practices in harnessing solid mineral deposits and minimising inherent hazards to individuals and communities.

The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has endorsed the event and expressed hope that it would be a forum to “showcase the products and services in Nigeria’s solid minerals sector as a means of diversifying the nation’s economy, increase revenue, as well as create job opportunities.”

“The ministry therefore, endorsed the event in view of its importance to the change agenda and the nation’s quest for transparency and accountability, particularly in the solid minerals sector,” a letter signed by the Ministry’s Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. H. O. Davies, stated.

He said already the forum is attracting support from relevant government agencies, and that participants will be drawn from all the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); relevant regulatory agencies, financial institutions, equipment manufacturers, private local and international investors and interested individuals.

Discussants in the thematic areas who are carefully drawn from the academia, government and experienced industry players, would lead participants to explore legal and regulatory frameworks, collaboration among three tiers of government, management, environment and finance.

Discussion will also touch on technology/equipment and geological studies to determine quantity and quality issues related to the sector.

It would also serve as avenue to energise states and local governments to organise and register artisanal miners operating in their domain to ensure safer mining environment and improved revenue; curb environmental degradation and unhealthy practices that characterise illegal mining in many local communities’ activities.

The forum would also be a rallying point for states and local governments to come up with templates to monitor, guide and support miners for optimal job creation and revenue enhancement.

In addition, it would provide opportunities for miners to learn the benefits of cooperatives, safer mining processes, equipment leasing and financial support from sundry government agencies for improved productivity and profitability.

They will learn, first-hand, the operation of government’s minerals buying centres across the country to ensure that minerals are properly priced and sold in a structured market setting as opposed to underground sales that had robbed both the local miners and the country of the expected financial gains.