Nigerian women miners are setting their gaze at leadership roles in the country’s neglected mining and minerals sector currently worth N8 trillion annually according to government records.

Drawing experts from leading mining nations in the sub-region, the women in mining group is organising a conference on unlocking the potentials of women in mining at the NAF conference Centre in Abuja on Monday.

A statement by the group says the conference will appraise strategies adopted by successful mining jurisdictions around the world which focus on gender and host communities issues in how to enhance economic wellbeing and sustainability.

The conference is also expected to examine the extent to which mining legislation influences women participation and explains what scope is there to support women in the sector through gender budgeting and good governance.

The current participation of women in the sector and the governance framework of the industry with a view to attracting more participation in the sector will also be a major focus of the conference, according to Janet Adeyemi, President of the association and the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Lehmann, whose country is a major sponsor of the event.

Major participants at the event will include Minister of Mines and steel Development, Abubakar Bwari; Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Cleo Wilson; President of the Women in Mining in Cote D’viore, Christine Logbo-Kossi; and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Remi Tinubu.

The long forgotten minerals and mining sector is now thought to be the new frontier of salvation, with its potential, according to government records, to generate N8 trillion naira annually.

Nigeria’s federal officials estimate that the current commercial value of of seven of the country’s solid minerals [Iron ore, Coal, Lead/Zinc, Bitumen, Gold, Limestone and Barite] runs into hundreds of trillions of dollars.

Indeed, Nigeria’s office of export promotions claims that the country loses about $40 billion annually in unexploited gold alone [168.29% of Nigeria’s 2017 budget of N7.28 trillion; higher than oil revenue in 2015 ($37billion), and far higher than the 2016 oil revenue of $26billion.]

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