By Gabriel Ewepu
Eight firms will soon commence exploration of minerals under the Federal Government’s Integrated Exploration Project, IEP.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, disclosed this in Abuja, after unveiling the eight firms as winners of bid for the exploration project after their emergence as winners.
Bwari announced the winners during flag off of the project, where he said the project under the Natural Resources Fund, NRF, will be executed by his ministry and explained that Nigeria’s abundant resources cannot remain untapped, as the Buhari-led government will ensure that they are comprehensively characterised to enable stakeholders make investment decisions.
According to him, industrial minerals for local consumption and import substitution, metallic minerals for generating foreign exchange and energy minerals for power generation towards the nation’s growth and substantial development, was important.
He said: “This integrated project is therefore long overdue, and its success will be critical in determining how far government can go in its efforts to reposition the sector.
“Actually, the credibility of this ministry, as well as the seriousness with which the international community will evaluate our effort at becoming a viable mining jurisdiction will be dependent on the way we handle this critical project.
“At this juncture, we want to particularly thank all who worked hard to make this event possible. We expect maximum commitment in the execution of this project because a lot is at stake.”
He also urged the companies to file in what they will be doing on the field through the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency in order for the ministry to know the level of progress made.
“I therefore, expect regular updates on work progress, particularly from the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency which will be supervising this project on behalf of the Ministry. I urge you to strictly adhere to the job specifications and contractual agreements stipulated in the terms of engagement while also ensuring that local expertise is adequately employed,” he said.