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Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake
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Mining Exploration: Alake Solicit Senate Support For More Funding

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The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, has Solicited the support of the Senate for more funding to enhance the ministry’s capacity to conduct a detailed exploration of Nigeria’s vast mineral deposits.

Alake made this disclosure at the opening session of the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals’ investigative hearing, Alake identified insufficient funding for exploration and insecurity as the main challenges hindering the development of the mining sector, limiting its potential as a key driver of economic diversification.

He Lamented country’s low investment in mining exploration. $ 2.5 million was invested last year, citing figures from Standard and Poor’s report. The Standard and Poor, a global rating agency, had ranked Nigeria’s exploration budget 12th in Africa and placed Ivory Coast in the top position with $147 million.

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“When we compare the exploration budgets of other African countries with ours, it is depressing. According to Standard & Poor, as of 2023, Nigeria’s investment in exploration was $2.5 million dollars against $147 million of Ivory Coast and $133m in Congo. Mining Exploration: Alake Solicit Senate Support For More Funding

“In our determination to compete, we had proposed a budget of N70 billion to invest in exploration that would cover the entire Nigerian landscape. Going by the budget of the Year 2024, our capacity to move at our desired speed may be undermined. We need your support to fund exploration and kit our personnel to regulate the sector, “Alake stated

Highlighting efforts put in place to combat illegal mining activities across the country, the brief the senators about the recently unveiled 2,220-strong Mining Marshals, with 60 operatives deployed in each state and the FCT.

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According to him, there are four categories of illegal miners: unlicensed miners; licensed miners operating outside their designated areas; licensed miners extracting unauthorized minerals; and miners operating with licenses restricted to Nigerians. He estimated that the country loses over $9 billion annually to illegal mining.

Declaring the investigative hearing open, Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio lauded the Minister for personally attending the public hearing, noting that his presence indicated the commitment of the presidency to making solid minerals the fulcrum of diversification of the economy.

Senator Akpabio advocated concerted efforts by the executive and legislature to ensure resources frittered away through illegal mining and other nefarious activities are curtailed.

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals Development, Senator Ekong Sampson in his remarks stated that the 3-day investigative hearing is hinged on unravelling challenges hampering the development of the mining sector despite the vast mineral deposits across the country.

“We want to look at the challenges and see what we can do, together with the executive, to address these bottlenecks and ensure that solid minerals contribute substantially to our economy. Nigeria is blessed with vast mineral deposits. The time is now to harness these God-given resources for the benefit of all Nigerians,” Senator Sampson added.

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