By John Okeke
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development arc Olamilekan Adegbite has said that the Nigerian Mining sector is poised to attract more foreign investors with the establishment of a Fire Assay laboratory in Kaduna State.
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 at the earliest time noted 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 was bound to take the mining sector to the next level.
In a Press Statement signed by Ayodeji Adeyemi, Special Assistant on Media, 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,’ he said.
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 concentrate of precious metals, thereby expending our scares 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 also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his support to the mining sector noting that his administration had allocated special intervention fund for the sector to enhance its Geo-science data generation capacity. ‘Indeed we thank president Muhammadu Buhari for giving this sector the fillip and the push it deserves to becoming a choice mining destination in the mining world.
No other administration has allocated the resources that this present administration has to the mining sector and for that we are grateful”
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. “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.”
Garba also revealed that two companies involved in the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project, NIMEP, programme had spent millions of dollars to obtain such analysis outside the country.
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.