The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development on Thursday in Abuja shared N84 million to 11 universities to conduct research and development of minerals deposit in Nigeria.

The minister, Abubakar Bwari, who presented the universities with letters of participation, said that they were required to conduct research and development in various areas relating to mapping and evaluation of particular mineral deposits in Nigeria.

Mr Bwari said that this would no doubt increase the fountain of geosciences data required by mining investors.

He said that the research would also impact on students and lecturers that would be involved in the fieldwork, as it would also improve the quality of learning in tertiary institutions.

“The research will improve the quality of learning in our schools; we have seen so many graduates of geology and mining who cannot identify basic mineral types,’’ he said.

Obafemi Awolowo University was given N9 million for mapping and evaluation of Talc/Talcose bodies in Iregun Idoka, Idominasi and Ere-Ijesa in Southwest of Nigeria while Federal University of Technology, Minna in Niger State was also given N9 million for geological mapping and assessment of metallic and industrial minerals in part of North central, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasarawa and Niger States.

Similarly, University of Nigeria, Nsukka got N9 million for a code for geoscientific fieldwork in Africa; guidelines on health and safety issues in mapping, mineral exploration and geoecological research and another N9 million was given to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for industrial and metallic minerals (exploration and utilisation) for the Cr-Ni-Pt-Cu deposits in part of the north central basement complex of Nigeria.

Ibrahim Badamasi Babagida University, Lapai in Niger also got N9million for exploration and utilisation study of Nigerian coal deposits.

University of Port Harcourt, University of Jos, University of Lagos, Nasarawa State University, University of Ibadan and Ebonyi State University got N6.5 million each to undertake various researches in Titanium oxide ores, provision of optimum blasting parameters, documentation of mining relics and its impact, detailed geological mapping (investigations) for gold and rare earth metals, research and documentation of mining relics and its impact, among others.

Mr Bwari said the universities won these grants on the basis of the merit of their proposals and potential value to the growth and development of the sector.

He said five eminent professors, including the former President of Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society, evaluated the research methodology for the steering committee on research collaboration with Nigeria tertiary institution.

The minister said that with the signing of the 2018 budget, the second phase of this collaboration would commence soon.

He urged the participants to stick to their terms and reference and deliver the research work within six months.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Abdulkadir Muazu, said research became imperative, as it was critical to the development of the sector and the nation.

According to Mr Muazu, there is need for the sector to invest in research development because the present administration is diversifying the economy through the ministry.

“The key development required for Nigeria is talent and manpower, there is no way the sector can grow without investing in research.’’

Olugbenga Okunlola, a professor and former President of Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society, said concept of research and development in any developing economy was important and should not be neglected.

“The initial grants given to the universities might be little but I know that they will conduct the research and development as expected by the ministry.

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