The Federal Executive Council [FEC] has, on Wednesday, approved the sum of 30 billion naira being intervention fund for the mining sector.
The approval comes as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the diversification of the nation’s economy.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Dr. Kayode Fayemi announced this to newsmen after the Council’s meeting at the Presidential villa.
According to Dr. Fayemi, the money to be accessed from the Natural Resource Development Fund will be used primarily for exploration activities.
He also described the exploration activities as the heart of Mining.
He said: “In recognition of Mr. President’s campaigns promises to Nigerians and in particular his consistent statement to diversification particularly in agriculture and mining sector, Council ratified the approval of N30 billion intervention fund for the mining sector.
“It will be highly focused on exploration. Exploration is the heart of mining; if you don’t search you won’t find.
“You have heard all sorts of talks about how rich Nigeria is in mineral resources but the quantity, quality, the geological prospectively has been a challenge because we have neglected the sector for such a long time,” he said
The council also approved the transaction advisers for the Concession of the 3,500-kilometer rail line in the country to be undertaken by General Electric a US-based consortium.
According to Minister of transport, Rotimi Amaechi, the transaction advisers with sit with GE as experts to negotiate the concession.
“The narrow Gauge railway will to a great extent assist the agriculture, mines, and steel development ministries in the transportation of the extracted minerals.
“We are rehabilitating at no cost to the government, the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, which include Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Gombe, Bauchi to Borno.
“Then Lagos to Kano will include Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kano, Funtua, Zaria and to Kaura Namoda, we are rehabilitating all of them.
“It is essential to encourage freight movement, we have over 30 million worth of freight on the Lagos-Kano route for which presently we are moving slightly above 100 tons.
“While the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri is currently moving nothing but we are anticipating 11 million tons that can be moved from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri,” he said
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