The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has solicited for mining support from the Australian government in an effort to upgrade the mining laboratory in the country to a world class standard and realise the desire of the present administration to diversify the economy through the mining sector.
The minister for solid minerals development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, made the request, recently, when the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Lehmann, paid him a courtesy call and discussed how best to assist the Nigerian mining sector.
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Fayemi, while appreciating the role played by the High Commissioner’s predecessor in the promotion of Nigerian- Australian relations in the mining sector, and the support of almost one million dollars in the area of research, confirmed that a number of ministry officials benefited from exchange programmes, study tours as well as graduate programmes up to the doctorate level.
He also mentioned the support of the Geological Surveys, Artisanal and Small Mining Department and the Mining Cadastre Office. On the need to upgrade the mining laboratory in Kaduna, he explained that rather than send raw mined minerals to Europe and South Africa, the quality of such minerals can be enhanced if certified here in Nigeria before being exported. He stressed the need to learn from Australia, particularly, on mining issues at a time when government is refocusing its attention in line with the downward trend in global commodity prices and in the oil and gas sector.
He said, “For us in Nigeria, it’s a much more compelling argument to diversify our focus and revenue base because oil has been the king for so long and we’ve been blinded by it. We need to rediscover our roots which interestingly is in mining in Jos, Enugu and other places.”