By Hauwa Muhammad Gold
The Federal Government has released N30 billion for the development of the solid minerals sector, a top official of the Solid Minerals Development Fund has announced.
Hajiya Hadiza Goni, Acting Secretary of the fund, made the announcement on Wednesday in Sokoto.
She made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a workshop on the Mining Sector for the North West Geo-political Zone.
Goni said the release of the money would facilitate the development of the solid minerals sector and boost nation growth.
The acting secretary noted that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had given priority attention to the diversification of the economy.
“The discovery of oil in commercial quantity in Nigeria made the mining sector the mainstay of the economy and oil the major revenue earner of the country.
“Unfortunately, in the approximately 45-year decline of the country’s mining sector, we have been unable to articulate a framework upon which the sector would viably stand and operate.
“We have, as such, missed out various opportunities to capitalise on the up-surging of the commodity process.”
Goni disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel had, however, identified 45 solid minerals types across the 36 states of the federation.
The Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, in a message expressed the determination of the State Government to develop the mineral sector in the state.
His message was read by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Bashir Garba.
Tambuwal said: “Even more important than oil, we were getting revenue from coal which is also a solid mineral.
“But we have abandoned the huge deposits of coal since the discovery of oil.
“There are countries that still rely on solid minerals for their survival, in spite of oil. An example is Copper in Tunisia.
He assured that the state would collaborate with the Federal Government to exploit solid minerals in Sokoto State.