President, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Mr Akinola George, has decried the inclusion of bitumen in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The NMGS president, who was speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the Geosciences and Mining House, said that “bitumen as a solid mineral is in the Mineral and Mining Act, 2007 and it should be made to remain so.’’
“Inclusion of this mineral in the PIB is an aberration and it is totally a misnomer; bitumen should be left with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development where it rightly belongs.’’
On the Geosciences and Mining House, George that said it would be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that would cost N1 billion.
He said that the initiative would provide employment opportunities for youths, especially graduates.
“We are planning to spend about N1 billion on the project which we envisage will be completed between 18 months and two years.
“When the project is completed, the most important value we are looking at adding to Nigeria is not only revenue generation, but also provision of employment opportunities.’’
He also said that the society was ready to address infrastructure development in the area of mining and steel development.
Mr Muhammad Sada, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, told newsmen that the Petroleum Industry Bill was still a draft that “is subject to adjustment’’.
“PIB is just a draft, it is still temporary for now, and we don’t have it as law yet. We are still working on it.
“We are in a stage where we are trying to get proposals from experts to help assist in developing our bitumen in Nigeria.
“ We only urge the Nigerian mining bodies to understand that we all are working for the progress of the country,” he said.
Sada advised the NMGS to maintain accuracy in presenting results of minerals resources to improve the growth of the minerals and mines sector.
“ The need to have reliable minerals and metals analytical results cannot be over-emphasised in view of the large sums of monies needed to fund mining projects.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the need to generate correct information for our operators, which is a responsibility of members of this noble body, is imperative for the growth of this sector,’’ he said.
He advised the society to organise trainings for laboratory practitioners as well as introduce programmes that would enhance the quality of professional services to operators.