By Oluwatosin Maliki
Nigerian professionals in the solid minerals sector will soon travel to Australia for more studies, courtesy of the deal brokered by the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dele Alake, in Perth, Australia on Wednesday.
The request was presented by Minister Alake, to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Corrective Services and Industrial Relations of the government of Western Australia, Bill Johnston. He acknowledged the progress achieved by the government in mineral development.
Alake, who led the Nigerian delegation to the 21st Africa Down Under Mining Conference, held in Perth, acknowledged that Australia has acquired a lot of knowledge and skills in developing its modern mining industry, adding that Nigerians will benefit from training, study trips and exchanges of mineral professionals in its current effort to transform the sector.
In addition, he said the government had launched a road map to attract foreign direct investment by investing in big data on minerals and the quantum of their deposits, forming a solid minerals corporation and joint venture agreements with multinationals in mining to enable the sector to compete globally.
He informed the minister that Nigeria has vast deposits of precious minerals, including lithium, gold, coal, lead, zinc, baryte and iron ore.
Therefore, Alake proposed a programme enabling Nigerian mining professionals to study and acquire knowledge in modern mining technology and practices in Western Australia with the government’s support.
In a response, Johnston appreciated the courtesy visit of the Minister of Solid Minerals and his delegation, expressing that the meeting would further pave the way for cordial relations.
Accepting the proposal, Johnston promised that the government of Western Australia would support the transfer of knowledge and skills to mining professionals from Nigeria and sponsor mining experts to visit Nigeria to impart knowledge.
He encouraged the minister to make a formal request as soon as possible so both countries could work together to realise the goal. He promised to mobilise the public and private sectors to support the initiative, as many companies are willing to explore opportunities for developing the mining sector in Africa.