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News Agency of Nigeria

Exploration: 133 prospective lead, zinc, silver areas identified in Benue trough

“Mining is all about data and the minerals are below the ground; money is needed to find out existing minerals and their quantities

By Francisca Oluyole

The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said more funds were required for mineral exploration, as 133 prospective minerals including lead, zinc and silver areas had been identified in Benue trough.

Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development made this known, while receiving second batch report on the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Programme (NIMEP) from two companies on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Adegbite, more funds are needed for mineral exploration to de-risk the mining sector to have accurate data of available minerals across the country to attract investors to the country.

“Mining is all about data and the minerals are below the ground; money is needed to find out existing minerals and their quantities

“Investors always shy away from taking the risk of exploration; they don’t want to risk their money on exploration and find out no mineral underneath the ground,’’ he said.

He said that the N15 billion allocated to the ministry in 2017 for exploration was spent judiciously on exploration project, which five companies embarked upon.

“These two reports today are the second batch, we got reports from two companies as first batch in October 2021 and we are expecting the last batch because the project was allocated to five companies under NIMEP.

“The results we got so far are fantastic, the data coming in from the reports tell us that Nigeria is rich in mineral realisation and the next phase is for us to market them to the right investors.’’

Mr Abdulrazak Garba, the Director General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) said with the reports received from the explorations, the ministry could carve out these areas for good investors.

“We have been able to identify the type of mineral, grade of minerals which were not available before now due to this exploration and they will be packaged to identify the right investors to invest in them.’’

Mr Bello Mohammed, the Managing Director, Juggemaut Industries Ltd. said as at June 2021, his company identified 133 targets of lead, zinc and ilver on Benue trough during exploration.

“My company did exploration on lead, silver and zinc and we identified 133 targets, it is amazing anywhere around the world you find 10 to 20 targets but we found 133 prospective targets for these three minerals.

“This 133 targets will attract billion of naira which will attract foreign investors and also create massive employment opportunities in the countries.’’

Mr Bassel Mourad, thebManaging Director, Rapid Resources Company said his company conducted exploration on Rare Metal Pegmatite in Nigeria, adding “Nigeria has Lithium, Tantalum in high grade if more exploration is conducted.”

“We have just scratched the surface to do more work, we want to make Nigeria a mining destination; there is high demand for electric vehicles in the world.

“This project will put Nigeria on the map because it has Lithium in abundance for electric vehicles.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the objectives of NIMEP are to generate geosciences information in Greenfield and Brownfield settings through integrated exploration methodologies.

It is aimed at spurring desired investment into the sector to generate foreign exchange, among others.