By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Federal Government, Thursday, disclosed establishing a facility key in a solid mineral analysis called Fire Assay Laboratory to determine the content of gold, silver, and platinum.
This was made known by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adebite, in a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister, Ayodeji Adeyemi.
Olamilekan explained that the Buhari-led administration embarked on the Fire Assay Laboratory project because it is a crucial analytical infrastructure needed in the mining sector to accurately determine the concentrates of precious metals in ore.
He said: “The Fire Assay laboratory is the first of its type in Nigeria and is considered the most reliable means for accurately determining the content of gold, silver, and platinum-group metals in ores or concentrates.
“The Nigerian Mining sector is poised to attract more foreign investors with the establishment of a Fire Assay laboratory in Kaduna State.
“We now have the analytical facilities that can support the mining ecosystem in the country and this is bound to attract more foreign interest in the sector.
“The Fire Assay Laboratory would save the country millions of dollars spent outside the country to conduct such analysis on metal ores.
“With the establishment of a fire Assay laboratory, we do not need to take metal ores out of the country to determine the level of concentrate of precious metals, thereby expending our scarce foreign exchange in other countries.
“This Fire Assay Laboratory would free up scarce foreign exchange, while it would also serve as a revenue generator for the government as companies who want to mine precious metals would no longer need to send samples out of the country but now send them to our laboratory in Kaduna which would be a source of revenue generation for the government.”
Meanwhile, he (Adegbite) also lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s support and allocation of resources for the project, which he expressed optimism that with the infrastructure geo-science data generation capacity will be boosted and made attractive to investors.
“Indeed we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for giving this sector the fillip and the push it deserves to become a choice mining destination in the mining world. No other administration has allocated the resources that this present administration has to the mining sector and for that we are grateful”, he added.
Earlier, the Director-General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, described the development as welcomed and said the Laboratory will add value to the sector as it would have high investors’ patronage.
“Before now many foreign investors had been making inquiries asking if we have a Fire Assay laboratory that can support the mining sector in the country. With the establishment of one now, it is bound to be welcome news to foreign investors.”
“About two companies did fire essay analysis outside the country just to determine the metal content of what they are doing for example gold content, the companies in between them spent about $2 million.
“If half of that came into the NGSA we would have been able to achieve internally generated revenue for the sector, we would have also been able to save capital flight.
“We are hoping to do more than this, in fact, all the analytical facilities that are needed to support the mining industry which hitherto we don’t have I want to assure you that NGSA through the support of the ministers and the perm secretary will be able to achieve them soonest”, he said.
The fire Assay laboratory is owned by the National Geosciences Research Laboratory Centre Kaduna, which is under the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, an agency under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.