Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, on Wednesday, proposed a roadmap of the present administration to transition metals produced locally with requisite value addition.
It also reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to ensure a conducive environment for investments in mineral processing plants across the country to ensure forex proliferation and creation of jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers in the mining sectors.
The minister who disclosed this in Abuja, at the African Natural Resources and Energy Investment Summit (AFNIS), with the Theme: “Towards a Just Transition”, said that the government will encourage investments in the determination of large volumes and deposits of transition metals.
He sought the establishment of the Host Communities Mineral Development Fund (HCMD), to address the challenges encountered with local communities on ownership of mineral deposits.
Audu said: Our journey in the mining sector has been both transformative and evolutionary. As we stand at the cusp of a new era, the pursuit of value addition becomes paramount, particularly in the realm of transition metals. The demand for these metals, crucial in the development of green technologies, has surged globally. Africa’s potential to meet this demand is vast, yet largely untapped.
“The key lies not only in extracting these metals but in harnessing our capabilities to refine and produce them locally. Doing so is an opportunity to foster economic growth, create jobs, and also maintain control over our resource value chain.
“By investing in domestic refining and production capabilities, we are not only adding value but also paving the way for sustainable development, ensuring that the wealth generated from these resources remains significantly within our communities, empowering our people whilst fostering technological innovation.”
He said the strategic shift is not without its challenges. It necessitates collaboration among National and Sub-national governments, industry stakeholders, and investors to build a robust infrastructure, promote innovation, and instigate supportive policies that encourage local value addition.
The minister added, “We are committed to a sustainable future that demands innovation and transformation in steel production, ensuring that our advancements align with global environmental standards.
“It is based on this that a roadmap is being developed for the revitalization of the steel sector in Nigeria with considerable attention to issues of insurance for government owned steel plants, beneficial incentives for investors that are willing to put money in the sector, and designating the 24, 000 – hectare land in Ajaokuta as an Industrial Park.
“The commitment to developing the steel sector remains unwavering, with a focus on job creation, attracting investments, and contributing significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product as outlined in the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, where the president intends to make Nigeria a G-20 economy before the end of his second term in office in 2031.”