We need statistics to drive mining sector – Alake

The Minister of Solid Minerals development, Dele Alake, has reiterated the importance of data and statistics to drive the administration’s agenda on mining even as he pledged to support investors with data to boost the growth of the mining sector.

Speaking while receiving the Statistician-General of Federation and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Prince Adeyemi Adeniran, in his office, Alake said the importance of data in the mining sector cannot be overemphasised given the present administration’s commitment to making solid minerals the pivot of its agenda for diversification of the economy.

“Data gathering is a pillar of economic development or even societal progress. Without efficient data, you can’t make informed judgment. In the mining sector, it is more critical because we are trying to open up the sector. In collaboration with the World Bank, we have conducted aero-magnetic surveys in some parts of the country. We are concentrating on the generation of big data through exploration, and the NBS has a role to play in this because our target is on international big players. They need it to make informed investment decisions. We can have a very harmonious working relationship as partners, in this regard,” he said.

Highlighting efforts to sanitise the sector, Alake reeled out efforts to secure the mining environment citing the establishment of the mining marshals, as a first layer of security architecture; the forming of artisanal miners into cooperatives which has helped to formalise their operations into a more structured group, making them more organised for business expansion, enhancing the capacity of government to generate accruable revenue through royalties and taxes.

The NBS chief in his response noted that the agency is on the verge of rebasing the economy this year, 10 years after the last exercise was done.

He emphasised that the bureau is looking at gathering data from sectors like solid minerals that are not well captured in the previous exercises, hence the need for collaboration with the ministry to gather comprehensive data in diverse segments of the mining industry.

Adeniran commended the minister on ongoing reforms stressing the need for partnership to effectively capture the emerging trends in the mining sector vis-a-vis its contribution to the nation’s economy and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The ministry and the NBS therefore established a joint technical working group to harmonise areas of collaboration.