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FG to open up iron ore mining to private investors ?SadaBy Obas...

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    FG to open up iron ore mining to private investors ?Sada
    By Obas Esiedesa, Senior Reporter, Abuja

    The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Musa Sada has said Federal Government would open up to private investors the exploration and exploitation of iron ore resources for the manufacture of steel products.

    The ministry, in a statement in Abuja, said Sada disclosed this during a meeting with the management of Sojitz Global Trading Nigeria Ltd led by its President and Chief Executive Officer, Shuhei Inoue.

    ?Our major interest now is steel-making and private production of iron ore for steel production?, he said.

    Noting that government, through the National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe, Kogi State, is the largest producer of iron ore in the country, the minister stressed that government is ready to encourage private investors to explore and exploit iron ore resources for the development of the nation steel sub-sector.

    He reiterated that for the nation?s mining industry to move forward and achieve the desired result, it is necessary to encourage private investors to play their role as operators while the government plays its role as the regulator.

    Sada explained that this realisation by government led to the enactment of the 2007 Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act for the mining industry to operate in line with international best practices saying that, the issuance of mining titles is based on first come, first served in line with the law.

    The minister, who noted that the nation?s two steel-related companies, Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd and National Iron Ore Mining Company, Itakpe, conceded twice to private investors, were not successful as a result of the breach of agreements, added that government is presently working towards reactivating these two entities which were designed to be two integrated units to work together for the production of iron ore and steel.

    Speaking earlier, Inoue indicated the interest of his company in the development of the mining and metal resources.

    He listed manganese, iron ore, ferroalloys (rare metals), among others, as their interest in the nation?s mineral resources and added that the firm would be glad to get the basic geological data as well as the basic policy about the development of mineral resources in Nigeria.
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