From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has said that, with the establishment of a fire assay laboratory in Kaduna State, the Nigerian mining sector is poised to attract more foreign investors.
The fire assay laboratory is the first of its type in Nigeria and is considered the most reliable means for accurately determining the content of gold, silver, and platinum-group metals in ores or concentrates.
The minister, who is expected to commission the laboratory soon, stated that a fire assay laboratory is a crucial analytical infrastructure needed in the mining sector to accurately determine the concentrates of precious metals in ore, noting that the development is bound to advance the Nigerian mining sector.
In a press statement signed his media aide, Ayodeji Adeyemi on Thursday, the minister said that the establishment of a fire assay laboratory was a crucial step towards making the country a major mining destination.
‘We now have the analytical facilities that can support the mining ecosystem in the country and this is bound to attract more foreign interest in to the sector,’ the minister stated.
‘With the establishment of a fire assay laboratory, we do not need to take metal ores out of the country to determine the level of concentrate of precious metals, thereby expending our scare foreign exchange in other countries. This fire assay laboratory would free up scarce foreign exchange, while it would also serve as a revenue generator for the government as companies who want to mine precious metals would no longer need to send samples out of the country but now send them to our laboratory in Kaduna which would be a source of revenue generation for the government.’
The minister appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his support to the mining sector, noting that his administration had allocated special intervention funds for the sector to enhance its geo-science data generation capacity.
The Director-General of Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, in his remarks, agreed that the establishment of a fire assay laboratory would enhance Nigeria’s status as a credible jurisdiction in global mining.
‘Before now, many foreign investors had been making inquiries asking if we have a fire assay laboratory that can support the mining sector in the country. With the establishment of one now, it is bound to be a welcome news to foreign investors,’ he remarked.