…as NSEG moves to change narrative in mining sector

… commences 4-day maiden Conference & Exhibition

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA- AS the economy remains at a worrisome level, the Federal Government, Monday, appealed to the geoscientists to fast-track economic diversification for increased revenue generation and job creation for the teeming youth.

The appeal was made by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite in a keynote address at the 1st International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists, NSEG, held in Abuja.

Adegbite who was represented by the Director General, Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office, NMCO, Engr Obadiah Nkom, said this is the time for professionals as economic geologists including the private sector join hands with the Federal Government to develop the 44 solid minerals hugely endowed at commercial quantities of international standards to rapidly develop the economy.

The four-day maiden international conference and exhibition, which started Monday would end on 29th of June, 2022, is the first being organised by the NSEG with theme, ‘Economic Diversification: The Role of the the Geoscientist, Government and Private Sector’.

He said: “I Consider this theme strategic and timely, given the compelling urgency to diversify our economy for the prosperity of the nation. The theme seeks to define the roles of the critical stakeholders in developing the minerals sector, key amongst which are the government, private
sector, and the professionals driving the mineral sector development process.

“Undeniably, Nigeria’s Minerals sector offers robust economic
potential for diversification of the nation’s economy yet the country and indeed, many other African Countries have continued to suffer under utilization of their mineral resources.

“The private sector on its part plays the role of owner and operator
of commercial mining entities and businesses.

“This shows the high premium, which government places on the private sector in driving
economic development activities.

“The geoscientist plays such an invaluable role, which cannot beoverstated in driving mineral exploration activities leading to discoveries of minerals and preparation of definitive feasibility reports on the viability of mineral reserves.

“The works of the geoscientists produce the treasured mineral raw materials that form the backbone of the modern-day industrial revolution

“All geoscientists and stakeholders should support the Government’s policy and efforts in diversifying the nation’s economy using the mineral sector as one of the key drivers.

“The outcome of such efforts will benefit all of us and the generation of Nigerians yet unborn.”

Meanwhile, the Minister also highlighted various areas of the sector that the Ministry under his leadership and support from President Muhammadu Buhari has achieved since 2015 till date.

He, therefore, assured of the government’s commitment to continue support “towards the growth and development of the minerals sector by generating geoscience data to de-risk and make it more attractive to genuine investors.

“Government will also continue to support Research and Development (R & D) endeavours tailored towards addressing real-time mineral sector development challenges”, he added.

Meanwhile, earlier, the Executive Secretary, NSEG, and Director-General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Dr. Garba Abdulrasaq, in an address of welcome disclosed that the Society has resolved to diversify the economy with their expertise in the industry over the years.

Abdulrasaq made it known that NSEG started as a specialist group of the Nigerian Mining and Geoscientists Society, and petrology, structural geology, and geochemistry specialist group.

At the conference, he said over one year now the planning to hold it has been on, and it would be held in 2021 but was stalled by the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, and financial constraints.

Abdulrasaq said, “We have a key role to play to ensure successful diversification of the economy because we are strategically positioned to make it happen.

“We, therefore, need to discuss and brainstorm on the emerging challenges arising from the dynamic environment of our profession, especially in the face of the new normal occasioned by the much talk on the need to diversify the Nigerian economy away from dependence on crude oil by focusing on solid minerals and agricultural sector’s.”

In order to put Nigeria on a true economic recovery path, he said Nigerians irrespective of their background should join hands to make it happen.

The NSEG boss also charged members of the society to interface with relevant stakeholders including investors on the potential of minerals in the country.

He also added that the nation is witnessing a reawakening of the mining sector as the government is doing all it can to address issues affecting the sector as investors are wooed and investing in the sector.

Meanwhile, the National President, Nigerian Mining and Geoscientists Society, NMGS, Prof Alabo Charles, in an address said the NMGS will continue to support NSEG and indeed all the other Specialist Groups of the NMGS as they play their roles as drivers of the technical think tank of our great Society.

“We shall continue to empower them to drive geosciences and mining innovations under the umbrella of our great Society.

“Key programmes of relevance to the sector must be critically and more robustly assessed by qualified professionals in the mix of our national development.

“Economic geologists particularly have an obligation to future generations in providing safe and sustainable mineral exploration, exploitation and utilization programmes while also ensuring minimal environmental impact.

“As professionals, we must therefore aim at providing sustainable geosciences and mining information for investors and policymakers including national representatives, federal and state agencies, industry, academia, and other stakeholders in the sector.

“Professionals in geosciences and mining should be poised to expand their roles and lead in finding sustainable solutions for modern socio-economic challenges through mineral resources development and innovative efforts”, Charles said.

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