By Luka Binniyat
THE Nigerian GeologicalÂ Survey Agency (NGSA) has completed 100% mapping of all the types and distribution of Nigerian solid minerals, and foreign mining firmsÂ have been besieging the NGSA to purchase the new information.
Known as Airborne Geophysical Survey Digital Data, it captures basic data and information on types, occurrence and spread of all the Mineral underÂ Nigerian soil using state_of_the_art technology to capture them.
Before now, miners relied on obsolete information or outright guess to prospect and mine for minerals.Beside Tin and Columbite mining on the Jos plateau which flourished for almost a century but died in the mid_seventies, most mining of metal and non metal mineral was done with no accurate study of the mineral reserve.
But, with the new Maps, the NGSA officeÂ in Abuja, and itsÂ regional offices, now see scores of foreign mining firms rushing to buy the new data, a Source at the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development told Vanguard yesterday.
In March 2008, the Federal Government celebratedÂ the completion of the first phase of the project which revealed new mineral findsÂ in Ogun state. The are: Phosphate and Polymetalic mineral in Ifo and Ijebu_North Local Government AreasÂ of the state In that first phase, according to Vanguard findings, 24 states were covered with more thanÂ more than 826,000 line kilometres covered by the Fugro â€“ the contractor .|
But, now Vanguard can show that $12 million project has been completed andÂ would soon be presented to investors and the general public.
â€œThe new mineral mapsâ€, theÂ source said, â€œhas many surprises for investorsâ€, he said.â€œIn places where we thought we had certain mineral, the new digital information shows that they donâ€™t occur as such. And in some places unknown for certain minerals, we have established their presence thereâ€, he said.
â€œWith the new mineral maps, a Mining Act in place and a Mining Policy and Regulation workingÂ we soon going into a mining renaissanceâ€, he said.
â€œYou are aware that about 800 mining titles have been freed last month fromÂ investors who showed no interest in mining, rather than speculating â€, he said.
â€œThese leases and licences are now for grabs. Serious investors can now assess these maps and apply for the specific mineral titles they want and they are sure that they would find what they wantâ€, said the source.
â€œby our own estimate, mining would create hundreds of thousands of jobs before 2015 at the rate we are goingâ€, he said.
â€œFugro hadÂ toÂ acquire and process approximately 1,000,000 line kilometers of fixed wing airborne magnetic and radiometric data over Nigerian part of theÂ Chad Basin, Central Nigeria,Â Adamawa & Cross River Basins as well asÂ Sokoto & Niger Delta basinsâ€, said the source.
The project isÂ financed from a mining a grant given Nigerian by the World Bank. It was managed by the Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project officeÂ on behalf of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.