The Federal Executive Council has approved the release of a N30 billion intervention fund for mining sector development.
The Minister of Mines and Steel, Kayode Fayemi, disclosed that the sum was a fulfillment of President Buhari’s campaign promises when he pledged determination to diversify from the oil sector.
Addressing state house correspondents after the council meeting chaired by Buhari, Fayemi said: “You have heard all sorts of talks about how rich Nigeria is in mineral resources, but the quantity, quality and prospecting have been a challenge because we have neglected the sector for such a long time.”
Joined at the briefing by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, and his Information counterpart, Lai Mohammed, Fayemi said government intended to spend the money specifically on exploration and research.
He said his ministry was already in negotiation with the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Nigerian Stock Exchange to access private capital for mining.
He noted that government was already working out guidelines for successful implementation of the plan and the disbursement of the funds. The guideline, according to him, would be ready within a month.
The minister also said there was need to upgrade geological data in the sector, if Nigeria must attract mining investment into the country as in the cases of Burkina Faso, Ghana and Côte d Ivoire where an average of $300 million was spent yearly on exploration.
Amaechi said the council approved the appointment of advisers that would negotiate concessioning of the nation’s railway infrastructure to General Electric (GE) of the United States of America.