The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite has called for professionalism and expertise for the development of the mineral sector as part of efforts to develop the Solid Mineral Sector.
Adegbite made this call during the 57th Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) Annual International Conference and Exhibition, with the theme: Geosciences, Mining and Environmental Sustainability” held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, recently.
The Minister who was represented by the Director-General, Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) Engr. Obadiah Simon Nkom,said the country needed those with competence for it to get the full potentials from the 44 mineral deposits spread across every state and local government area. He enjoined them to come up with clear actionable initiatives that would help drive the vision of the Ministry in actualising its mandate to diversify the economy through the sector.
He said “I therefore charge experts in this conference to come up with definite milestones and deliverables regarding the untapped potentials of economical mineral endowments in the Country”
Adegbite, while expressing the Ministry’s readiness to render assistance to NMGS, tasked them to identify modern ways of harnessing the mineral commodities in a sustainable manner for the benefit of the Country.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, delivering his paper on “Addressing Environmental Issues in the Nigerian Mineral Sector: Regulatory Laws; Policies and Practices”, noted that, while the sector provides vital raw materials and energy for a large number of industries, its activities are still commonly considered as a threat to the natural surroundings, with environmental effects on the air, water, soils and landscape.
Speaking further, Dr. Ogah, represented by Director Artisanal and Small Scale Mining,Patrick Ojeka enumerated the various environmental issues and impacts of mining, noting that one of the Ministry’s technical department, Department of Mines Environmental Compliance (MEC), has the responsibility to ensure that the industry is environmentally conscious and maintains ecological integrity as well as the mandate to enforce environmental compliance in mineral resource development in Nigeria. He added that Environmental Requirements for operators in the sector have been put in place for every stakeholder regarding environmental obligations.
Earlier, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who was represented by Commissioner for Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Dr. Peter Medee said the theme of the Conference, was very timely considering the global challenges posed by global warming, climate change and energy transition.
He noted that the Country needed to reposition itself properly to articulate and benefit from the transition, while conserving the environment for cleaner energy and environmental sustainability. He however, tasked the Professionals and Academia to carry out the transition from fossil fuel to cleaner energy in a manner that will ensure the country has corporate advantage.
In his welcome address, President, Nigerian Mining Geosciences Society, Alabo Charlesye David Charles, revealed that the Society which has about ten thousand members, across multiple
fields of geosciences, meteorology, oil and gas and environmental services, sectors is critical to the national and sub-national economies of the country.
Dr. Alabo noted that the theme of the conference was carefully chosen because of the growing need for a balanced economic social and environmental consideration as the nation strive to explore and exploit its natural resources.