By Charles Kumolu
AN Indigenous company, Solid Mines Limited, is to convene a mining conference to support efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari, at creating alternative sources of revenue in the face of dwindling oil prices.
It also wants the Federal Government to be steadfast in its quest at diversifying the economy of the country, noting that the present financial crisis provides an opportunity to do so.
In a chat with Vanguard, yesterday in Lagos, the Director of the firm, Mr. Frank Ekperigin, said the conference was conceived to dissect issues with particular references to artisanal mining, environmental impact of illegal mining and recognition of information and mobile technology as key tools in the sector.
The one day event, which is planned to hold in Abuja on October 21, 2015, is titled: African Mining Conference 2015.
With the theme: Harnessing the Continent’s Solid Minerals for Economic Buoyancy through Sustainable Public/Private Sector Synergy, the forum is expected to attract participants from some African countries, Europe and America.
Ekpegirin said a former Vice-Chancellor of University of Ife, Prof Wale Omole, would be the key note speaker.
His words: ‘’ The mining sector currently accounts for about 0.3 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, generating about $1.5b. This is very negligible when compared with other African countries such as South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Botswana whose mining sectors account for 18 per cent, 25 per cent and 40 per cent of the country’s GDP and generate $63 billion, and $7.6 billion.
“The low contribution of the mining sector to the nation’s GDP has not always been the case as Nigeria once had a booming mining industry, but like the agricultural sector, the discovery of oil resulted in the gradual neglect of the sector.
“Before the oil boom, Nigeria’s economy was largely sustained by agriculture and exploration of solid minerals.”