By Goodluck Ikiebe
In line with it’s Renewed Hope Agenda to enhance local capacity for industrialisation and promote value addition in the Solid Minerals sector, the Federal Government has inaugurated a 10- man Committee to strengthen the mechanism for full scale industrial production of Salt and Kaolin in the country.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday at the Ministry of Solid Minerals and Steel Development Headquarters in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Mary Ogbe, stated that the initiative to explore and exploit Salt and Kaolin aligned with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Tinubu led administration to increase domestic use, capacity for export and boost employment opportunities.
Dr Ogbe said: ”In order to change the narrative and kick start the development of our nation, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with his Renewed Hope Agenda has challenged us to believe in our country and develop it as we do not have another country.
”It is this consideration that is behind the strong desire of the Honourable Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Oladele Alake to develop the exploration exploitation and processing of salt and Kaolin in Nigeria for Nigeria’s use and subsequent export. This will in turn provide jobs for Nigerians, conserve foreign exchange and boost our economy.”
The Permanent Secretary charged the 10- man Committee with the following terms of reference:
a. Determine the extent of deposits and locations of brine and rock salt and Kaolin in Nigeria
b. Determine the number and viability of licenses issued for the exploration and exploitation of these minerals
c. Determine the cost of exploration of those sites to ascertain the quantum of the existence of brine, rock salts and Kaolin ( if this has not been determined before)
d.Propose the way forward to actualizing the building of Salt and Kaolin Processing plants in Nigeria with a given time frame
e. Come up with any other recommendation that will assist the Government in taking proactive measures to develop the sector.
Elaborating further, Dr Ogbe gave a timeline, on or before 30 November 2023 to the Committee for submission of its report in view of the urgency of the assignment.
The Head of Press and Public Relations, Alaba Balogun, in a statement, names Prof. Zachaeus Opafunsho, the Director- General/CEO of Council for Mining Engineers and Geoscientists of Nigeria as Chairman of the Committe, while Mrs. Salamatu Umar, Director Special Duties Department in the Ministry will serve as the Secretary.