The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite has stated that the roles being played by the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC) and the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences (NIMG), Jos would help achieve the desired growth in the Sector.
Adegbite stated this during his working visit to the two organizations under his Ministry in Jos, Plateau State.
The Minister who who expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the two (2) Agencies, said he was not surprised by the achievements recorded since the assumption to office of the two Chief Executives, pointing out that results easily come when competent hands take charge of critical Agencies of government.
He referred to them as experts who have done a lot of researches in different areas relating to minerals and metals sector.
On the contributions of NIMG to the economy, Adegbite disclosed that the Agency is currently training a lot of people in gemstones identification, cutting, polishing and so on, which according to him, would enable Nigerians make use of the gemstones that are in quantum in the country rather than exporting them in the raw forms.
Some of the faculties in the School are also part of the jewelry making training that is ongoing in Abuja, adding that they are also a repository of knowledge and technical expertise on how different gemstones can be identified, cut, polished and made into jewelry.
Speaking on the positive impacts the NMDC has played, the Minister said that any Nation that desires to be independent and wants to make progress, technologically, must have its own steel production.
“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 noted.
He cited an MoU signed with the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), on local production of armaments for the Nigerian armed forces as a step in the right direction.
According to him, “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”.
He 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 issue before the current administration winds down.
In his opening remarks, the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of NMDC, Prof Linus Asuquo said the activities of the Agency are crucial in value additions and development of processes for the entire processing chain; from exploration to extraction and to fabrication.
He stated that the mandate of the Centre vested the responsibility of the conduct of research and development work in minerals and metallurgy in all their ramifications in the Centre.
Asuquo said significant progress has been recorded since the inception of the current administration most especially in renewing infrastructure and building capacity which is aimed at bringing the Centre at par with similar Research and Development establishments in other developing countries such as Mintek in South Africa, CMRDI in Egypt and even Mefos in Sweden.
He appreciated the dynamic leadership of the Hon. Minister for the acquisition and supply of new state-of-the-art equipment. These equipment according to him, enhanced the Centre’s capacity for minerals identification, processing, metallurgical research and analysis as well the conduct of forensic science.
The DG, however, pointed out that a lot still needs to be done to succeed in Research and Development works for the diversification of the economy.
He appealed for Ministry’s continuous support to the Centre in its efforts at attaining the level where it will not only contribute effectively to government’s objective of transforming the minerals and metals sector into major contributors to GDP but also rely on itself by generating the income it needs to fund its expenses and research work
Earlier in his address, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer, 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.
“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 further explained.
He disclosed that the agency is committed to rendering professional knowledge and expertise through short duration courses, to enable them train and equip Nigerians with skills in specialized areas such as: Lapidary, Gemstone Cutting & Polishing; Jewelry Making, Basic Mining Practice for Miners and Quarry Management among others.
He solicited for more funding to assist the agency develop its infrastructure and deliver on its mandate.