18 August 2014, Abuja – The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) has opened the National Geosciences Research Laboratories of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) for public commercial operation to enable organisations in the sector to conduct laboratory tests locally.
This was made possible through the collaborative efforts of NGSA, Cargo Defense Fund (CDF) and Nexim Bank and it is hoped that miners of solid minerals would now save huge resources when they conduct their tests locally, instead of taking them overseas at exorbitant expenses.
In a speech, the Director-General of NGSA, Dr Alex Ndubuisi, regretted that until now Nigeria did not have a befitting laboratory for such exercise, despite the fact that the country is heavily endowed with mineral wealth.
He said lack of world class laboratory has led to miners and exporters of solid mineral ores to suffer untold financial losses and commercial hiccups with their international partners who exploit local operators simply because there was no bankable mineral laboratory to analyse and certify the content of the mineral ore in question.
Ndubisi remarked that Nigeria has lost so much because of this, adding that the 95 years of the existence of the agency has equipped it with the opportunity to diversely work in the nation’s mineral and establish documentation of these minerals across the nation.
In reaction to the establishment of the laboratory, the President Miners Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sani Shehu, said the impact of Cargo Defense Fund in trade facilitation has been wonderful across board.
“I have seen how Cargo Defense Fund had facilitated trade of many other sectors in the economy. I am happy that with CDF focusing on mineral trade, a new dawn has come to the trade in Nigeria. I expect formalisation of this trade now in a professional way,” he said.
Chairman of NGSA Governing Board, Professor Ibrahim Garba, in his address, said that the development would reduce cost to miners, give credence to minerals from Nigeria.
“I am very sure that with this laboratory, miners are well positioned to cut costs of mineral assay which before now were done in United Kingdom, South Africa or Australia. Again, minerals from Nigeria would be coming out now with much credibility as there is a national laboratory with the state of arts equipment to test and analyse any mineral thoroughly irrespective of its origin,” he said.
Professor Garba also observed that the role of CDF in trade promotion was very significant for the growth of the sector.
“I am coming in contact with Cargo Defense Fund for the first time but having gone through the details of what it has done in the mineral sector on trade development, I am very optimistic that mineral trade in Nigeria, being a technical trade, has got all that is required internationally to have it done professionally and legally from Nigeria,” he added.
THISDAY learnt that CDF got into the mineral trade after it received incessant complaints from miners and solid mineral exporters who got their mineral exports devalued or even rejected by the overseas partners.
CDF investigated such problems and discovered that most of the transactions did not have appropriate documentation backed by any laboratory locally and so the local operators were at the mercy of their international partners.
– This Day