Nigerian mining sector can now attract more foreign investments, as the nation is building a world-class mining sector that would be the toast of investors.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, via a statement issued by Ayodeji Adeyemi, his Special Assistant on Media on Monday.

The statement, which was seen by Nairametrics, was issued after the commissioning of the Fire Assay laboratory and Earthquake Monitoring Centre in Kaduna State.

What the Minister is saying

He said, “The commissioning is a testament to the impressive policy drive of President Buhari. He is the only president that has put extra-budgetary funds into the sector to develop it.

“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 Laboratory was a crucial analytical infrastructure needed in the mining sector to accurately determine the concentrates of precious metals in ore, noting that the development was bound to take the mining sector to the next level.

“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 the sector.”

Adegbite also noted that the Fire Assay Laboratory would save the country millions of dollars spent outside the country to conduct such analysis on metal ores.

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 concentrates of precious metals, thereby spending our scarce foreign exchange in other countries.

“This fire Assay laboratory would free up the 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,” he added.

What NGSA is saying

The Director-General of Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba equally agreed that the establishment of a Fire Assay laboratory would enhance Nigeria’s status as a mining jurisdiction in the global mining world.

He further stated that it would save the country foreign exchange spent on conducting such analysis in other countries.

He said, “With the commissioning of this Fire Assay laboratory, we can now conduct analysis of gold and platinum group metals, and as a mineral analysis outfit, this would contribute immensely to the economic growth of the country as we save the nation foreign exchange that would have been spent on conducting the analysis abroad.

“Before now many foreign investors had been [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 welcome news to foreign investors.”

Garba also revealed that some companies involved in the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project, NIMEP, programme had spent millions of dollars to obtain such analyses outside the country.

About two companies did fire essay analysis outside the country just to determine the metal content of what they [were] doing, for example, gold, content, the companies in between them spent about two million dollars. If half of that came into the NGSA we would have been able to achieve internally generated revenue for the sector, we would have also been able to save the capital flight,” he said.

What you should know about Fire Assay Laboratory

The fire Assay laboratory is owned by the National Geosciences Research Laboratory Centre Kaduna, which is under the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, an agency under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.