The Federal Government on Thursday, expressed concern at the way minerals were being exported raw to Asian and European countries at ridiculous prices without value addition.

It described this as a disservice to technological and industrial growth.

The government also warned against illegal mining activities which had affected sustainable development and increased loss of revenue in the country.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Mary Ogbe, represented by the Deputy Director (Mines Inspectorate Department) in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Okhuoya Onah, stated these during the inauguration of new National Executive Council of Miners Association of Nigeria in Abuja.

She said, “I am happy to say that this country is highly blessed with abundant mineral resources. Some of these minerals occur in commercial quantities and they are of good grades. However, it is disturbing to observe that our local industries largely depend on imported minerals such as gypsum, barite, talc, kaolin, etc as their raw materials, despite the availability of such minerals in Nigeria.

“It is also disheartening that minerals such as lead/zinc, copper, tin, columbite, manganese, tantalite, wolframite, gemstones, just to mention but few, are exported raw to the Asian and European countries at ridiculous prices without value addition. This has not helped technological and industrial growth of the nation and has added to the unemployment challenge prevailing in Nigeria.”

At the event, the Chief Superintendent (Import and Export Unit, Tariff and Trade Department) in Nigeria Customs Service, Chibuzo Oguche, said the NCoS was ready to collaborate with the MAN to track illegal miners in the country.

Ogbe said that the collaboration would enable the service track those miners that engaged in illegal activities across the country.

“We are looking forward for good synergy between the MAN and customs because by the time we get to the database of registered miners, we will be able to track those illegal miners,” she said.

Ogbe also expressed concern over local industries which depended on imported minerals as their raw materials, despite available of such minerals in the country.

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