Abubakar Bawa Bwari, Honourable Minster of State for Mines and Steel Development highlights seven strategic minerals to enhance economy growth in Nigeria. They minerals are Gold, Iron Ore, Coal, Lead/Zinc, Bitumen, Limestone and Barytes.
The Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development delivered his speech at the Nigerian Manufacturers Exhibition NME-2019 holding at the Landmark Center, Victoria Island, Lagos said that It is a great pleasure to be given the opportunity to speak to this august gathering on the occasion of the Manufacturers Association organized Nigerian Manufacturers Exhibition NME-2019 with the theme “Optimizing the Value Chain towards the Growth and Competitiveness in the Manufacturing Sector”. The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), being a foremost and elite organized private sector Body has demonstrated sterling competencies and uncommon resilience in the face of daunting challenges confronting the manufacturing sector in Nigeria, he added.
Bwari comment on the subject of optimizing the Value Chain of the Manufacturing Sector to enhance growth and global competitiveness of Nigeria is the theme for this gathering. We have come to realization that no industry or sector operates in isolation and therefore every manufacturer correspondingly has to ensure that his products and services add to the value chain of the product line to achieve national growth and global competitiveness. Nigeria at the moment has many isolated products that need to be inter-linked with its up-stream and or down-stream products and services, he added. “I am sure that Value Chain concept does not need a definition to this audience but necessarily have to state that the strategic linkages of the products and services of the various sectors of the nation’s economy would define speed of accomplishment of national goals.”
“For the Minerals and Metals Sector, the observed disjointed development of the various minerals resources of the nation has led to the identification of 7 strategic minerals out of over 40 minerals. These 7 strategic minerals (Gold, Iron Ore, Coal, Lead/Zinc, Bitumen, Limestone and Barytes ) are receiving focused attention which looks at their development through their various value chain to achieve specific national goal. An example of this initiative is the Iron Ore value chain activities through the Backward Integration initiative. The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment pursued this initiative since 2013 in order to achieve the objective of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
Iron Ore Mining
“Kogi Iron Limited continues to blaze the trail in the utilization of iron ore. Contrary to previously held beliefs, the company has developed ways of using its iron ore resource at Agbaja, Kogi State to produce high grade steel, proving that apart from Itakpe, – which was meant to feed Ajaokuta – Nigeria has other sources of iron ore for making steel. The Company plans to build a steel plant at Agbaja is in the final stages. Also worthy of mention is the current backward integration project of some companies who have taken far reaching actions to explore and exploit local Iron Ore Resources and undertaken value addition activities to produce Iron & Steel as well as produce power from locally sourced Coal.
GOLD VALUE CHAIN
“Another mineral commodity that the Ministry has focused on is the Gold Value Chain. Gold is one of the most smuggled commodities in Nigeria and a great deal of Nigeria’s gold is traded in the international market with hardly any impact on the economy or GDP. Understanding the role precious metals and minerals play in the economy of any nation, we have decided to re-organize the gold sector by developing a National Gold Policy. The policy is aimed at facilitating formal gold production, trade and exports to ensure regular payment of royalties and taxes.
“There is also a National Gold Purchase Scheme which is meant to promote the production and refining of gold for purchase by the Central Bank of Nigeria under a Federal Gold Reserve Treasury Scheme. The Scheme will be funded through a Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Development Initiative, using a similar framework as the one used for the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative and Anchor Borrowers Project. The pilot phase is expected to be launched in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State by President Muhammad Buhari.
Also, in line with our policy of developing the downstream operations of the sector, and following decisions reached at the recently concluded ERPG Focus Lab, the Ministry approved the first ever gold refinery license in Nigeria to a private operator, Kian Smith Trade Co. Ltd. The ground breaking ceremony of the plant took place in Mowe, Ogun State, on the 13th of December 2018 and production is expected to start in 2019. The company will start with a production capacity of three tonnes per month of 99.9 percent gold and one tonne per month of 99.9 percent silver. Most of the gold will be sourced locally and when completed the refinery will provide more than 500,000 jobs in two years.
As one of the major outcomes of the ERPG focus labs, the scheme is meant to accredit 10,000 artisans miners in five states; shore up our gold reserves as the CBN purchases the refined gold under the Federal Gold Reserve Treasury Scheme; produce 175,000 ounces of gold per annum, and increase the earnings from Gold by N53 billion thus boosting our sector’s contribution to the GDP massively.
Other strategic value chain activities of the MMSD involves the mineral Tin. The Nigerian Tin has been reported to be one of the best quality in the world and therefore the Ministry is making efforts to reorganize the Tin mining operations in Plateau State to develop its value chain to harvest its economic benefits to Nigeria’s advantage. This initiative when effectively executed will attract several Billions of Naira which the country has been losing.
In the area of Gemstones – AMRAN Mining Company Ltd commissioned the first ultra-modern incubation centre for gemstone faceting in Gwarimpa, Abuja in June 2018. The centre will be training youths in the art of gemstone faceting to enable them establish their own businesses, which should result in more jobs and wealth creation.
Another mineral commodity that is having extensive value chain activities in Nigeria is Lead/Zinc – First Patriot (Former Royal Salt Ltd.), Symbol Mining/Imperial Joint Ventures located in Bauchi State and Tongyi Allied Mining Co. Ltd. are mining and processing major Lead/Zinc.
In the Coal sub-sector – Eta Zuma located in Ankpa LGA, of Kogi State is presently mining coal and is also into intensive exploration to determine more coal reserves. The Company supplies coal to Dangote Industries for firing their kilns. Eta Zuma has also successfully developed the production of coal briquettes for household cooking; thus helping to curb the menace of deforestation arising from using wood as fuel for domestic heating.
In the Marble and Granite industry – Royal Ceramics Ltd has successfully launched a new line of engineered marble tiles made from marble chipping with a total local content of 95 per cent. Its products are comparable to the best anywhere and still cheaper than imported ones.
Minister added that you would agree with me that the myriad of value chain activities enumerated above and more not mentioned will go a long way to create positive impact to the Nigerian Economy. However, the subject of optimizing this initiatives now borders on sustained virile policies and continuous stakeholders engagement to ensure sustainable growth and competitiveness which is most desirable to ensure a healthy national economy.
The Caption Photo:The Honourable Minster of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari,