Says NMDC serves as catalyst of Nigeria’s industrialization

As NIMG adds value to gemstone, jewelry production

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, weekend, expressed optimism over National Metallurgical Development Centre, NMDC, and Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, DICON, signing of Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, on local production of armaments for the Nigerians armed forces as it would reduce importation.

Adegbite stated this during a working visit to NMDC in Jos, Plateau State, and described the pact as a step in the right direction.

He commended DICON for looking inwards on the issue of importing armaments to boost operations of the Nigerian armed forces, which locally could be manufactured, and that the MoU will yield the desired results.

He said: “DICON had to look inward during Covid-19 restrictions and found  out that what they have been importing into the country, could be done even better locally in NMDC, Jos.”

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He also pointed that the NMDC is strategically established to play a vital role in galvanizing Nigeria’s industrialization.

He (Adegbite) stressed that any nation that desires to be independent, industrialized and advanced technologically must have its own steel plant, allied institute for steel production in place.

“This Centre is a technological hub without which Nigeria cannot make it. A lot has been done here and a lot more needs to be done, where they are today is no mean feat, they have done so much and they can also do more”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister also visited the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences, NIMG, Jos, where he commended the Institute for adding value to the gemstone and jewelry industry as it is currently building capacity of Nigerians in gemstones identification, cutting, polishing, and others.

He made it known that some of the faculties in the Institute are also part of the jewelry making training ongoing in Abuja.

He also acknowledged that Institute remains a repository of knowledge and technical expertise on how different gemstones can be identified, cut, polished and made into jewelry.

He said the capacity building would enable Nigerians make use of the gemstones that are in huge quantum in the country rather than exporting them raw materials.

However, the Minister noted that the two Agencies need more funds to achieve their mandates and ensure Nigeria takes its pride of place in the global minerals and metals sector.

He promised to address the funding challenges before the current administration winds down.

He also acknowledged that the agencies have recorded notable achievements since the two Chief Executives took over helms of affair of the two agencies based on their performance and competence demonstrated following the strategic positions the two agencies occupy on the ministry and sector, which he referred to them as experts who have done researches in different areas relating to the minerals and metals sector.
Earlier, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, NMDC, Prof Linus Asuquo, briefed the Minister and his entourage about activities NMDC has been embarking on as far as value additions and development of processes are concerned for the entire processing chain in terms of exploration to extraction and to fabrication.

Asuquo further explained that as NMDC’s mandate, it is vested responsibility of the Centre to conduct research and development work in minerals and metallurgy in all their ramifications.

According to him, significant progress has been recorded since the inception of the current administration at the Centre, especially in renewing infrastructure and building capacity.

He added that the management’s aim is bringing the Centre at par with similar Research and Development establishments in other developing countries including Mintek in South Africa, CMRDI in Egypt and even Mefos in Sweden.

Meanwhile, he commended the support and impact made by the Minister in acquiring and supply of new state-of-the-art equipment to the Centre.

According to him, the equipment has enhanced the Centre’s capacity for minerals identification, processing, metallurgical research and analysis as well the conduct of forensic science.

However, he made the Minister know that there are still needs to fast-track and improve performance of the Centre’s productivity as the Buhari-led administration maintains drive in diversifying the economy through the mines and steel sector.

Also, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, NIMG, Prof Bolaji Hassan, said the mission of the agency is to be an international centre of excellence in the training of manpower and the conduct of research in the exploration and exploitation of minerals for national development.

Hassan said NIMG is committed to the ideal of resuscitating Mining and Minerals processing Engineering and Skills Acquisition in Nigeria.

He maintained that the agency is committed to rendering professional knowledge and expertise transfer through short duration courses, to enable them train and equip Nigerians with skills in specialized areas including Lapidary, Gemstone Cutting & Polishing; Jewelry Making, Basic Mining Practice for Miners and Quarry Management among others.

“To achieve these laudable programs, we must be proactive in developing our human capacity requirements to bridge the gap through training, research and skill acquisition, short courses specifically tailored to meet the present and future needs of our Mining, Minerals and Metal Sector”, he said.

He solicited for more funding to assist the agency develop its infrastructure and deliver on its mandate.

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