From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu  Ogah on Friday wooed investors in solid minerals and metals sectors to invest heavily, saying the sector is the future economy of the country.
Speaking at the 6th edition of the Annual Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit (KADINVEST), Dr Ogah said the summit was an indication  that Kaduna state understood the critical roles of the sector in the industrial development of the nation’s economy.
“It is on this note that we invite all prospective investors to liaise with the relevant Agencies of Ministry of Mines and Steel development for necessary information to make their investment decisions. Kaduna State Government can also participate as investor through its Special Purpose Vehicle companies to operate legally under the existing legal framework.
“The giant strides of Kaduna State Government in the areas of attracting serious investment into the country and the State in particular has started to yield fruits and I am glad that the Minerals & Metals sector through Messrs. African Natural Resource Group and others has become an encouragement to other investors.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, our leader has not hidden his passion to provide the needed support to States that have demonstrated capacity to stimulate economic activities and Kaduna State under your leadership has been a shining example.
“Kaduna State have also keyed into Mr. President’s vision of diversifying the Nigerian economy through the Agricultural and Minerals sectors and we are resolved to give necessary supports as the regulator cum administrator of the Mining industry.
“Commercial exploitation of solid minerals in Nigeria dates back to 1903 with commodities like Tin, Columbite from Jos, Plateau State and Coal from Enugu. The economic contribution of the mining sector was over 5% before the discovery of oil which transformed the country into a mono product economy.
“In the past major infrastructure in the country like Tincan Seaport in Lagos, Portharcourt Seaport in Rivers, Eastern Railway line, Western Railway line and the Standard guage Central Rail line, Power plants etc. were developed to service the mineral sector.
“The management of the Ministry met with the baryte miners over the huge importation of processed baryte into the country by the oil/gas companies and developed a baryte programme to substitute imported products. The programme would be launched before the end of 2021 and oil/gas companies would be using Nigerian baryte processed products for their exploration works.
“The revenue contribution of the mineral sector has been very low due to several factors. We have evaluated these issues and have taken some policy actions including the new export guidelines etc to address the causes of low revenue.
“We are working on the ailing assets of defunct Nigerian Mining Corporation, Nigerian Coal Corporation and liquidated Steel Rolling Mills in collaboration with Bureau of Public Enterprises to bring them to production”.
The Minister pointed out that, “Kaduna State is strategically located in the mineral map of Nigeria bordering other mineral rich states like Niger, Nasarawa, FCT, Plateau etc.
“The State is endowed with a lot of solid minerals especially minerals of the future like Nickel, Cobalt, Tungsten, Vanadium etc and virtually all the major different types of Nigerian mineral endowment can be found in Kaduna.
“The Federal Government through NGSA has generated preliminary geoscience data that can guide the proper identification of “hot spot” areas for detailed exploration across Kaduna State. Mining is an information-based investment and such credible geoscience information will definitely attract serious mining investments into the State.
“The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development through the State Mines Office can share information with the State government on the status of operations of licenced miners in the State for possible brownfield collaboration with other more equipped investors.
“The prospective investors should liaise with the NGSA officers in the State on how to access and acquire NGSA data for proper guidance of investors to limit investment risks.Prospective investors should endeavour to acquaint themselves with necessary regulatory information to ensure that their operations are in line with the extant laws.
“Community issues and multiple taxations have led to the collapse of mining operations in many  States, I would want Kaduna State to put in place mechanisms in line with the extant laws to ensure conducive atmosphere for operators. When one mine is closed, families are affected and it affects the overall economic output of the country.
“The Annual Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit has become a rallying point for serious investment discussions by policy makers, industry players, academia, business communities and other stakeholders and should be sustained for the overall development of the State and Nigeria in General”. The Minister stated.