The Federal Government has approved the sum of N12.7 billion for mineral exploration data generation for investors and operators in the mining sector.

Speaking during an interview with newsmen in Abuja, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, said the approval was geared towards the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s mandate to create jobs, raise the sector’s contribution to the GDP and promote sustainable mining.

Bwari maintained that continuous collaboration with knowledgeable stakeholders in the mining sector would no doubt make the government’s journey on the road to shared mining prosperity faster and more productive.

“This administration has made data generation, retrieval and storage a priority and has continued to invest hugely in the mining sector. As our sources of funding improves, we intend to continuously increase the amount of money we spend on this verification component of mining.

Meanwhile, National President of Miners Association of Nigeria, Sani Shehu, however, commended the government over the approval, describing it as a good omen and step in the right direction for the sector’s development and productivity.

He also said that the amount approved cannot cover all the states in the country for mining data generation, which will lead to selection of states for exploration activities based on the approved N12.7 billion by the government.

“The N12.7 billion will not be able to adequately cover all the states in Nigeria, so there would be selection of states to start with, and as for exploration time goes on I know more funds would be made available for the continuous exploration exercise.

Shehu also said the minister still needed to shed more light on “Who is going to do what, which states the exploration will be done. The minerals mentioned are in many states, and we do not know which of them the exploration will be carried out, when is it to be carried out? So we need to await details from the Minister for further comments.”

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