The Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development came into being in `1995. Since the establishment of this sub-sector, a number of steps have been taken to fast track its development from May, 1999.
Some steps taken before the present time, include the approval of a national policy on Solid Minerals development, the updating of outdated laws and regulations, the development of a computerized data base on the country’s solid minerals and the establishment of a National Consultative Forum on Solid Minerals.
However, this question still remain unanswered, has Government been able to curb the activities of illegal miners ?
Interestingly, the major focus of the sub-sector, include, to provide employment for jobless Nigerians, to enhance government revenue and foreign exchange earnings. In addition, the expectation, is that the sub-sector has the potential to broaden the productive base of the economy through its linkage capabilities.
Sadly, the absence of an enabling environment for the private sector to develop the natural resources is a major impediment, coupled with the lack of incentives to woo investors.
Indeed, the future is bright for the sector, only if Government will take positive measures to boost domestic demand, ensure value addition and make available useful information to investors.
By also facilitating institutional reorganization and carrying out environmental impact assessment to reduce the adverse effects of operations in rural areas, Government will reassure the citizenry that it is resolute to make the sub-sector economically viable.