By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
A Follow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engineer Ben Nwude has said that Nigeria got it wrong in mining when the chase away mining investors out of the country with its indigenization policy of 60% while the investors who owns mining company get 40% to other Countries with friendly laws in 1972.
He stated this in an interview with newsmen shortly after his paper presentation titled “Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of A Surface Mining Project” at the Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Kaduna State Branch on Monday.
Engineer Nwude while listing problems why mining in Nigeria has gone bad informed that, the discovery of petroleum in a commercial quality also contributed, saying the federal government focused its attention on petroleum thereby neglecting mining sector.
“Nigeria has been a mining country, but we got is wrong somewhere. In 1972, we have what is called indigenization policy which says that an investor have 40% while the indigenes have 60% and based on this, the investors who own mining company withdraw from Nigeria and move to other countries that has friendly laws. So with that, we have started having problem.
Others, he said include, “inadequate infrastructure to mining business, so the government need to provide adequate infrastructure, although government is trying and l commend them.
“Another problem is shortage of manpower, especially specialist in the sector because in Nigeria we have only 2 institutions that offer mining that is Federal University of Technology Akure and University of Jos that started 2 years ago and now luckily for us Ahmadu Bello University is starting mining in this coming session. So we need to increase the manpower development in that area.
“Another is we need to carry out is exploration because it is capital intensive and risky. You can put a lot of money in looking for mineral and at the end of the day, the mineral is not viable.
“Another problem that is on ground now is we do not have beneficiation plants, that is why we sell most of the minerals in raw and when we sell in raw we do not make maximum profit” The Follow lamented.
The Fellow however called on the Federal Government to strengthen its mining institutions such as Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency, National Iron Ore Mining Company, Metalogical Research Development Centre Jos among others.
Commenting on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Engineer Nwude warned that government should ensure that every surface mining project is assessed of their negative effect on the environment before commencing.
According to him, Nigeria is endowed with different mineral resources which are not yet fully explored not even to talk about development, mining or processing the minerals.
“Mining is an international business which requires a lot of capital and has a long gestation period.
“As of today, Nigeria has done a lot of things that will make foreign investors come by reviewing its Mining Laws and have put many attractive incentives and policies to attract investors to the sector” he added.