In keeping with the diversification agenda of the present administration, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, has approved a N30 billion intervention fund for the Mining Sector.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi announced this while briefing Journalists after the council’s meeting at the Presidential villa.
The money, which will be accessed from the Natural Resource Development Fund will be used primarily for Exploration activities.
“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,” Fayemi told journalists.
He added that the fund “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, and the geological prospect has been a challenge because we have neglected the sector for such a long time.” He said.
Also the FEC gave approval 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 will sit with GE as experts to negotiate the concession.
Amaechi was optimistic that “The narrow Gauge railway will to a great extent assist the agriculture, mines, and steel development ministries in the transportation of the extracted minerals.”
He said: “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.”
The minister further stated that “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