Small indigenous operators in the mining industry will benefit from the N30bn Mining Intervention Fund approved by the Federal Executive Council, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said.
Fayemi said this while inspecting quarrying facilities at CIBI Nigeria Limited’s quarry site in Buruku, Kaduna State, according to a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode.
The minister also disclosed that the miners would also benefit from a mining loan being sourced from the World Bank.
He said the ministry had entered into a partnership with the Bank of Industry to offer loan facilities from the intervention funds to serious operators who were already producing and who required assistance to increase the scope of their operation.
He stated that companies engaged in the production of quality tiles would benefit from the fund in order to help increase their production, compete favourably, and help reduce the nation’s dependence on imported tiles.
“We are working with the BoI to disburse the loans as soon as the intervention funds are released to serious tile producers across the country,” Fayemi said.
He said the companies like CIBI Nigeria Limited would have been able to produce more than 200,000 square metres of tiles it was currently producing annually from dimension stones, if adequate resources, including finance, equipment and others were available.
According to the minister, Nigeria needs about four million square metres of tiles annually, adding that all the local tile producers could only come up with less than a million annually.
He lamented that the bulk of tiles being used in Nigeria were imported from Italy, China and India, stressing that there was an urgent need to support local operators as captured in the Mining Road Map drawn up by the ministry.
The Chairman, SIBI Nigeria Limited, Mr. Nuhu Wya, urged the government to support its project, adding that there was increased demand that it had the capacity to meet.