The Permanent Secretary of, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade has stated that the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development’s annual meetings has helped realize the Mandate for economic diversification of President Buhari’s administration.

She made this known in Abuja, during the opening ceremony of the 3-Day 4th edition of the National Council On Mining and Mineral Resources Development, Monday, 5th December 2022, with the Theme; “Realigning The Minerals and Metals Industry to Address the Impacts of The COVID-19 Pandemic “.

Dr. Akinlade told the very excited participants that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development was the only MDA that met its revenue target in 2020 the year following the last Council meeting before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and that while the palliative funds resulting from the ravaging pandemic were being deployed to other uses in most MDAs, the Ministry embarked upon what is known as Economic Sustainability Projects in each of the six geopolitical zones of the country to stimulate economic activities that will create sustainable wealth for the people of the country. Some of those projects she mentioned include; Kaolin processing plant in Bauchi, (North East), a Gold Souk in Kano, (North West), a Gold processing plant in Kogi State, (North Central), a Lead-Zinc processing plant in Ebonyi, (South East), Gemstones Trading Platform in Oyo state, (South West), Barite Processing plant in Cross River State (South-South) to mention but a few.

She also enumerated some of the major economic achievements of the last National Council to include: Increase in revenue generation from N5.4 billion in 2020 to N7.8 billion in 2021, post Covid-19, which surpassed the projections for the period; improved rating of the Ministry in the anti-corruption and Transparency compliance index from 26.5% in 2020 to 76.6% in 2021; completion of the phase 1 of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP) which produced bankable geosciences data as a result of which investments have started flowing into the sector; Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval for the Nigerian Mineral Value Chain Policy, which will ensure local processing of Mineral ores, this is a remarkable achievement; FEC approval of the Transaction Advisory Services for  the resuscitation and full operation of the Ajaokuta Project which is long overdue; and the MCO EMC+ which enables you to get your mining license in the comfort of your home from wherever you are; Rehabilitation of equipment at National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) Itakpe ; and Training and provision of startup packs for over 200 persons on foundry and other skills in the Metals sub sector .

The Permanent Secretary stated that the Ministry was able to achieve this with the unflinching support received from the President, Muhammadu Buhari, and all the esteemed stakeholders in the minerals and Metals value chain, while she urged participants of the 4th National Council to proffer better solutions for the Minerals and Metals sector.

In his welcome remarks earlier, the Director of Planning, Research, and Statistics, Mr. Ken Onwumbiko, (FCIA), reminded stakeholders that the essence of the Mining Council is a platform well-structured for stakeholders in the sector to converge for cross-determination of ideas, sharing of experiences, formulate and or review policies as well as proffer solutions to the challenges being faced by the sector.

He enumerated participants at the council to include, Honorable Ministers of Mines, state commissioners and permanent secretaries, relevant to the minerals and mining sector, Governments Agencies, relevant Departments and Agencies, Mining Operators, Mining Associations of Nigeria, and other Stakeholders contributing to the Mining value chain.

The Director also stated that the Council meeting will be conducted in two sessions after the opening ceremony; The technical session which would be a two-day interactive session to be attended by all permanent secretaries responsible for mineral resources in states as well as their accompanying Directors and other stakeholders under the chairperson of the PS, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and The Executive sessions which would hold on the 3rd day and comprising all commissioners responsible for Mineral Resources under the chairmanship of the Honorable Minister, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. And that the session will review the recommendations of technical sessions and issue a communique at the end of the meeting.

He told participants that the Ministry had received a total of 31 memoranda on the three thematic areas from relevant stakeholders which would be thoroughly reviewed and implementable recommendations made.

Other stakeholders who spoke at the opening ceremony include the commissioner of Mineral Resources Developments, Kastina State, Dr. Abdullahi A. Imam, FCNR, who spoke on behalf of other state commissioners, Mr. Musa Muhammad, Acting President of Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN).

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Olusade Adesola, who is the chief host for this year’s council, also commended the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development’s steadfastness and visible achievements which motivated the FCT administration in the establishment of the Mines and Metals Department. He added that the growth in the sector is very significant, he welcomed all participants to the warm serenity of the FCT and urged participants to enjoy their stay.

Olukoyode Ramos, CEO/MD, Mosra Enerji Nigeria Limited, gave the lead paper presentation to set the thought-provocative session stated with the Theme: “Impact of The Covid-19 Pandemic On the Minerals and Metals Sector in Nigeria and The Way Forward “.