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Only five states have correct inventory of their mineral deposits- Agency

By The Citizen

Mr Alex Ohikere, Director-General, National Steel and Raw Materials Exploration Agency, on Tuesday, said that only five states in the country had correct inventory of mineral resources available in their states.

Ohikere, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna, said that inadequate inventory of mineral resources in states in the country could slow economic progress in such states.

He listed the states as Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Yobe and Jigawa and said that it was only when a state had proper data on its mineral deposits that it could attract investments.

He disclosed that plans were on to commercialise the agency in order to boost its internal revenue generation profile.

'Presently we are under-funded; only 42 per cent of the 2013 appropriation budget of the agency has been released by the government,' he said, explaining that exploration was capital intensive.

According to him, the agency needs enough funds to perform its functions and presently, it lacks adequate solid minerals exploration equipment.

Ohikere stated that all the exploration rigs procured by the agency about three decades ago were now obsolete, adding, however, that the only ones presently operational  were two bought in 2010.

He disclosed that sufficient coal deposits was still available in the country, saying that a study revealed that the nation had coal reserves estimated at  about 2.7 billion tonnes.

He, however, regretted that out of the estimated available coal deposit, 'less than 650 million tonnes have so far been proven”, explaining that the performance was as a result of inadequate equipment.