Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake has said that the federal government will soon establish the Nigerian solid minerals corporation.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, September 3, Alake said the corporation will be similar to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and will help Nigeria “reap the trillion dollars worth of minerals under the ground”.
“Mining is big business. Nigeria must assert its presence in this environment by replicating its strategic positioning in the petroleum sector by setting up a corporate body that plays in this field.
“Consequently, the ministry shall work towards the incorporation of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation. This is a corporate body that will have subsidiaries doing business in the seven priority areas that require immediate intervention and focus: gold, coal, limestone, bitumen, lead, iron-ore and baryte.
Existing enterprises such as the National Iron-Ore Company, and ongoing arrangements, such as the Bitumen Concessioning Programme, will be reviewed to fit into this new system.
The proposed corporation will seek and secure partnership investment agreements with big multinational companies worldwide to leverage the attractive investment-friendly regime operating in the country to secure massive foreign direct investment for the mining sector.
“The positioning of the national corporation as a guarantor and protector of the partnership agreements is expected to assure partners of our seriousness and fidelity.
“Similarly, the solid minerals corporation will provide robust support for Nigerian businessmen seeking funding abroad and help to authenticate their investment proposals to speed up the commitment of their partners to invest.
“Domestically, the solid minerals corporation will engage the Nigerian financial system, which has demonstrated palpable reluctance to support mineral prospecting and mining because of the long-term gestation of value generation by developing a Fund to facilitate investments in mining at interest rates that will be mutually agreed.”
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Alake also said his ministry seeks to add 50 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) from solid minerals. He added;
“The ministry will be introducing a security tax force and mines police that will help the country combat illegal mining and smuggling.
“For the last time, let me declare that the ministry is giving such persons 30 days grace to join a miners’ co-operative or find another vocation to do.
“On the expiration of the period, the full weight of the law will fall on anyone seen on a mining site without a determinable status.
“This message will be interpreted into Nigerian languages and broadcast on the radio to ensure no one is ignorant of this directive.”