Solid minerals ministry speaks on ‘misleading report on minister’

The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has alerted members of the public about a malicious publication using a fictitious name, Echezonam Ibezim, aimed at disparaging the reputation of the minister, Dr Dele Alake.

In the publication titled, ‘Tinubu’s Minister Submits N200b Budget for  Existing Project’, the writer claimed that Dr Alake was acting in ignorance by asking for an approval of such amount for geo data, a project he said already existed.

But reacting in a statement by the minister’s special adviser Kehinde Bamigbetan, he said the author merely displayed ignorance about gaps in the country’s geo-data environment.

“The solid minerals sector relies on scientific data on the nature and occurrence of rocks underground to determine reserves of commercial quantity that investors can use to make decisions on business ventures.

“The National Geodata Centre lauded by KPMG is the repository of geological data. We have improved on it with the launch of advanced Nigerian Minerals Resource Decision Support System, which the minister launched on May 14. It aggregates geological, hydrological, demographic and economic data to facilitate investment decision making,” it said.

The statement said the data in the facility is grossly inadequate, hence the need for ambitious and aggressive data gathering to fill the gap. 

“This challenge was identified by the  previous administration. It led to the implementation of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP). Due to funding constraints, NIMEP explored only five out of Nigeria’s 44 minerals and was restricted to specific regions of estimated occurrences,” it said.

While justifying the budgetary proposal, the ministry noted that with Nigeria’s land space of 923,768 square kilometres, more than 12 times the size of Sierra Leone, the cost of a similar Airborne Survey  exceeds the N200 billion proposed.