By Andah John
The Federal Government has secured $150 million (N45.7 billion) aid from the World Bank to develop the mineral sector.
The aid is for Mineral Support for Economic Diversification (MSSED) or MinDiver programme.
Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this in Abuja, said the ministry was working with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.
He also noted the involvement of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and other institutions. These institutions, he said, would provide a $600 million investment fund for the sector by the first quarter of 2017.
Fayemi said: “We have secured support from the World Bank for the funding of $150 million Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification or MinDiver programme.
To provide technical help
”A critical component of the support is to provide technical assistance for the restructuring of the Solid Minerals Development Mining Investment Fund.
“The fund will also help to bring back on stream previously abandoned mining projects like tin ore, iron ore, coal, gold and lead-zinc among others.”
Fayemi further noted that the sector had witnessed positive developments in the last one year. This include a major growth in the ministry’s contribution to the Federation Account to about N2 billion in 2016. That is up from N700 million in 2015.
The minster then said the increased productivity in mining had also led to significant discovery of mineral deposits. Notably is the high-grade nickel recently in Dangoma, Kaduna State by an Australian company operating in Nigeria.
Fayemi further revealed that government had constructed 10 prototype mineral buying centres across the country. He then stated that the centres are for specific industrial minerals.
“These are to serve as standardisation centres to enable cooperatives and operators to receive fair premium for their efforts,” he said.