Alake seeks more funding before Senate

Alake seeks more funding before Senate

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Alake seeks more funding before Senate

Mr Dele Alake

Alake seeks more funding before Senate. The Senate Committee on Solid Minerals told the Minister of Solid Minerals Development on Wednesday that it is ready to provide budgetary support to enable it to develop required data that will attract investors to the industry.

Senator Samson Ekong (PDP, Akwa Ibom South) offered the assurance when the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr Dele Alake, came before the panel to defend his budgetary allocation for 2024.

Alake previously told the committee that the ministry, under his supervision, required vast sums of money to create geoscience data on around 44 mineral reserves across the country in which countries are interested.

A  look at the ministry’s budget proposal showed that N24,917,158,629 had been earmarked for capital expenditure in 2024 out of its total allocation of N29,243,373,419.

According to Alake, the availability of the data will aid in attracting investors to the area.

“The first thing is to create the necessary attention for this sector in front of the international community, before local investors, and with all modesty, distinguished senators, I want to state categorically that we’ve been able to achieve that in the last 100 days more than what had been achieved in that sector in several years,” he said.

“Today, international investors are breathing down our necks, inquiring about which minerals they are interested in, where they want to put their foreign direct investment, and so on.”

“I was at the mines and money conference in London a few days ago with members of my team, and the level of interest that our presentations generated there was quite enthusiastic and very, very encouraging.”

“In fact, the Secretary of State approached me during the conference.” We had a really useful meeting in which they expressed significant interest in our solid mineral industry and stated unequivocally that the emphasis reverted on that area had sparked their own interest, which they didn’t even know existed before. They are now interested in arriving with their money, which we require.

“Second, I met with the UK Deputy Prime Minister in Downing Street with my team.” Again, based on some of the actions that we have been able to implement in the last three months, he stated that they are particularly interested in our lithium.

“In fact, the man gave us some advice, which I will share with you on camera, and he requested that our President come.” I quickly delivered the message to our President in order to further solidify this process.

“Now that we’ve diverted attention, global and local attention, into that sector, the next best thing we should, ought to, and must do is generate the necessary data, geo-scientific data, without which no investor will invest.”

“For example, previous work in the geo-data section revealed that we have at least 44 minerals in demand globally.” However, we lack the data to determine the amount of what we have in Zones A, B, C, and D.

“So what investors or operators are doing now is partly speculative, and no major player will enter your sector based on speculation.” No real investor would do such a thing.

“They want to be able to calculate and project how much they are investing, how long it will take them to recover, and everything else.”

“All of this is dependent on geoscientific data that we cannot generate, and these things are not cheap.” We don’t have the necessary equipment on hand. We don’t even have some highly technical and professional individuals.

“As a result, we rely on external assistance, which means that we need your help in terms of budgetary allocation, specifically to this sector, without which we will be playing at a medium level of artisanal, illegal miners, and speculators as scavengers at best.”

“However, as in today’s oil industry, when you talk about the oil industry in Nigeria, you talk about the majors, the big majors.” You mention Mobil, Shell, Chevron, and other companies.

“Of course, there are the medium players, but without the big players in that sector, Nigeria will not be able to reap the full benefits of these God-given abundant resources.”

“So we need a lot of support in geodata generation – exploration we call it generally.”

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