Opening Remarks at the 56th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS)

I welcome the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) to our dear state. My utmost wish for you is that your deliberations at this 56th outing will have far-reaching consequences on our nation’s economic development.

As we continue to diversify our economy and explore non-oil sources of revenue, the work your society does becomes even more important and relevant. Just last year, the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Report disclosed that in about fifty years, Nigeria may not even have oil anymore. We may be thinking that fifty years is a long time, but it really isn’t.

So, the theme you have chosen to address at this year’s conference becomes necessary. Bearing in mind that we have mineral deposits all over Nigeria that could yield more revenue when exploited. How can we responsibly explore and utilise these resources? And how can we ensure that we secure the lives of individuals that are involved in these activities?

We simply cannot reap the economic benefits of the mining industry in an insecure environment.

Let me pause and applaud the fact that you brought this conference to Oyo State at this time. With all the stories of insecurity that flooded the media recently, people within and outside of Nigeria would think that you can’t walk the streets of Ibadan without getting kidnapped or robbed. It’s a good thing that you are here, and for the next four days, you will all enjoy the traditional hospitality of the people of Oyo State.

Oyo State is indeed open for business. We do not discriminate here. Whether local or foreign investments, as long as it is in our people’s overall best interest and will grow our economy, we are open to it. As I always say, we run an open-door policy. You do not have to know anyone in government to pitch your ideas to us. Our administration has policies to encourage everyone to invest here, be they startups or large corporations.

For the mining sector, we have a framework for the systematic development of our mineral potentials. It is designed to make our state a mining destination, attractive to local and foreign investors. Our people from the Pacesetter Mineral Development Company (PMDC) and the Oyo State Mineral Development Agency (OYSMIDA) are present today. They are ready to talk to you about this framework but let me lead by saying we have three entry levels for investors.

  1. Exploration Only: This is meant for investors interested only in the mining and archiving of data of the state’s mineral resources.
  2. Exploration and Exploitation: This is designed for investors interested in data mining and using this data to guide investment. And
  3. Exploitation Only: This is for persons who wish to rely on our pre-acquired data to invest in this sector.   

We have started detailing mineral exploration throughout the state, beginning from Oyo North. Our target is to have comprehensive bankable data. Currently, PMDC has 20 mineral titles. We have Marble, Granite, Tourmaline, Tantalite, Feldspar, Talc, Beryl and even Gold. In fact, we just discovered gold and manganese in the central part of the state. And right now, OYSMIDA is trying to establish if the deposit is in commercial quantities. 

We also have a peculiar undisturbed massive outcrop of coloured granite in Irawo, a high-quality marble deposit in Igbeti, Gemstone – Pyraba deposit in Oke-Ogun, Iron Ore/Stone deposit in Agboonle, and extensive Tantalite all over the state, all amounting to billions of dollars in the ground waiting for exploitation. Again, I am using this opportunity to invite investors from all over the world to take advantage of these opportunities.

I cannot end this message without calling attention to what I could term as a crucial lobby point for societies like yours. One of the factors holding back exploration and exploitation of mineral resources in various states, including Oyo State, is the ownership of resources.

Mineral development and exploration are currently placed on the exclusive list of the Nigerian Constitution. This has retarded the development of the sector and eliminated direct state and local people’s participation. We know what this means in real terms: the state and the people have to wait to get a share of their natural resources instead of being the ones to share them.

Well, the good news is that recently, Zamfara State was allowed to mine and own its gold deposits. It signals that it is time to again push for resource control for all states. As a matter of fact and urgency, here in Oyo State, we call for the delisting of the mineral resource ownership and development from the exclusive list.

And on that note, let me welcome you again to Oyo State and wish you impactful deliberations.

Thank you.

~ Seyi Makinde, March 16, 2021

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