In a bid to support the solid minerals sector, the Federal Government has disclosed that it secured a loan of $150 million from the World Bank.
This was announce by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on Monday in Abuja while briefing the press on the activities of the ministry in 2016.
“We have secured support from the World Bank for $150m for the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification programme, a critical component of which is to provide technical assistance for the restructuring and operationalisation of the Mining Investment Fund, which will make finance available to artisanal and small mining operators through development finance, microfinance and leasing institutions. The fund will also help to bring back on stream previously abandoned proven mining projects like tin ore, iron ore, coal, gold and lead-zinc.”
He also stated that the government had constructed 10 prototype minerals buying centres across the country for specific strategic industrial minerals. We have improved the productivity of the sector by tripling the ministry’s contribution to the Federation Account to about N2bn in 2016, up from N700m in 2016.
The minister also inaugurated the Mining Implementation and Strategy Team as well as 38 project vehicles purchased at a cost of over N400m for mines’ inspection.
He added, “We are working to retrieve old data obtained on the various mineral deposits across the country, as well as enter into joint ventures with private exploration companies to generate new data from our Greenfield explorations. We hope that analysis of this information will help to further buttress our speculations on the quantity and quality of mineral deposits in the country.
The Mining Implementation and Strategy Team, headed by the Chairman of Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, Prof. Olugbenga Okunlola, is tasked with the responsibility of implementing the Federal Government’s blueprint for the mining sector.