Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite has underscored the importance of professionalism in the development of the solid mineral sector, adding that the administration is determined to reposition the sector for maximum utilization of over 44 mineral resources in the country.
The minister, who was represented by Engr. Obadiah Simon Nkom, Director-General, Mining Cadastre Office (MCO), gave the assurance at the 57th Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) Annual International Conference and Exhibition, with the theme: Geosciences, Mining and Environmental Sustainability” held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, recently.
He said Nigeria needs more competent people in order to realize get the full potentials from the vast mineral deposits spread across every state and local government area of the country. Tine-Iulun M. A, who confirmed the development to our correspondent said Adegbite charged the NMGS to come up with actionable initiatives that would drive the vision of the ministry in actualizing its mandate to diversify the economy through the sector.
He said: “I therefore charge experts in this conference to come up with definite milestones and deliverables regarding the untapped potentials of economical mineral endowments in the Country.” Adegbite, who expressed readiness of government to assist the NMGS, tasked them to identify modern ways of harnessing the mineral commodities in a sustainable manner for the benefit of the Country.
Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, who delivered a paper on “Addressing Environmental Issues in the Nigerian Mineral Sector: Regulatory Laws; Policies and Practices,” noted that the sector has vital raw materials and energy for a large number of industries, adding that its activities are still commonly considered as a threat to the natural surroundings, with environmental effects on air, water, soils and landscape.
Speaking further, Dr. Ogah, who was represented by the Director Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, Patrick Ojeka, enumerated various environmental issues and impacts of mining. He said one of the Ministry’s technical departments, Department of Mines Environmental Compliance (MEC), has the responsibility to ensure that the industry is environmentally conscious and maintains ecological integrity, as well as the mandate to enforce environmental compliance in mineral resource development in Nigeria.
He added that Environmental Requirements for operators in the sector have been put in place for every stakeholder regarding environmental obligations. Earlier, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who was represented by Dr. Peter Medee, Commissioner for Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, said the theme of the Conference, was very timely considering the global challenges posed by global warming, climate change and energy transition.
He noted that the Country needed to reposition itself properly to articulate and benefit from the transition, while conserving the environment for cleaner energy and environmental sustainability. He however, tasked the professionals and academia to carry out the transition from fossil fuel to cleaner energy in a manner that will ensure the country has corporate advantage.
In his welcome address, Alabo Charlesye David Charles, President, Nigerian Mining Geosciences Society, revealed that the Society which has about ten thousand members, across multiple fields of geosciences, meteorology, oil and gas and environmental services, sectors, are critical to the national and sub-national economies of the country. Dr. Alabo explained that the theme of the conference was carefully chosen because of the growing need for a balanced economic social and environmental consideration as the nation strives to explore and exploit its natural resources.