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Solid Minerals: Alake seeks funding to generate geoscience data bank

The Senate Committee on Solid Minerals on Wednesday assured the Minister of Solid Minerals Development of its readiness to support it with budgetary allocation to enable it to generate necessary data that would attract investors to the sector.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Samson Ekong (PDP – Akwa Ibom South) stated this when the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake, appeared before the panel to defend his 2024 budgetary allocation.

Alake had earlier told the committee that the ministry under his leadership requires huge funds to generate geo-science data on about 44 mineral deposits across the country which countries are interested.

Alake said the availability of the data would help to attract investors into the sector.

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He said: “Solid minerals are the next petroleum of Nigeria, but for us to critically, efficiently, and proficiently harness these resources and convert them to revenue and increase our GDP, we must lay certain ground rules. We must put in place some enduring infrastructure. To tackle illegal mining and other sharp practices, we must put in place a pre-emptive strategy that will reduce the proclivity to commit such vices. That’s what my team and I decided to do when I came in through a 7-point agenda, which I announced to the world and is contained in the document I passed to you, “Alake said.

Speaking further, the minister asserted that the first step he undertook was to generate attention for the mining sector within the country and in the international community, which he noted has yielded tremendous fruits as international investors have shown enthusiasm to invest in the sector, with Lithium topping the list of minerals, whose value chain has attracted the most attention.

“My team and I recently had a meeting with the British Deputy Prime Minister, Oliver Dowden in Downing Street, on the sidelines of the Mines and Money Conference, based on some of the activities that we have been able to put in place in the last three months and he expressed his interest in our Lithium, promising to mobilise a consortium of British investors to invest in the value chain. He moved a step further to invite President Bola Tinubu for a parley to consolidate the process. “Alake asserted.

Having shifted global interest to Nigeria’s solid minerals, Alake stressed that the next most crucial step is the generation of the necessary geoscientific data. This, he noted, is essential to guide investors in making informed decisions or projections on available mineral resources.

Responding, the chairman of the Senate Committee assured the minister of his panel’s support in ensuring solid minerals achieve the potential to become the next petroleum of the country.

He frowned at the paltry budgetary proposals of the ministry, saying it is grossly inadequate to make the requisite impact of making the mining sector contribute immensely to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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