The Minister of Mining and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi who briefed State House correspondents along with the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi at the end of FEC meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, said that the fund from 1.68% of the Federation Account will mainly focus on mining exploration.
“FEC rectified the president’s anticipatory approval for Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to qualify to access the national resources fund. You will recall that in August FEC approved the road map for the growth and development of the mining sector,” Kayode said.
“In recognition of Mr. President’s campaigns promises to Nigerians? and in particular his consistent statement to diversification particularly in agriculture and mining sector, Council ratified the approval of N30 billion intervention fund for the mining sector. It will be highly focused on exploration. Exploration is the heart of mining, if you don’t search you won’t find.
“You have heard all sorts of talks about how rich Nigeria is in mineral resources but the quantity, quality, the geological prospectivity has been a challenge because we have neglected the sector for such a long time.” He said
He also said there was a need for investment grade geological data if Nigeria must attract mining investment into the country.
According to him, smaller countries like Burkina Faso spend averagely $300 million a year on exploration.
“This is why Council approved this for mining and this is significant because this is the accessing of natural source development fund which has been made 1.68 per cent of the federation account. It is an equivalent of the ecological fund and the Education Trust Fund,” he said.
“It is meant primarily for agriculture sector, mining sector and the water resources sector. And this will cover exploration primarily but also research and development in partnership with our universities, it will also cover security and mining in partnership with the ministries of Interior and Defence and the DSS just to tackle the menace of illegal mining across the country. It will also support small scale miners with grants.”
The Minister said the council also stressed the importance of inter-ministerial coordination and for the Ministry to work with the ministries of transportation, power, works and housing, environment on safer mining practices and ministry of health to help build a multi-sectoral focus on mining and also encourage private sector investment in the sector.