Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade has urged the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency not to relent in its impressive efforts towards identifying and quantifying Nigeria’s huge steel raw material resources and other ferro-alloys across the nation. She gave the charge during a speech in her maiden visit to the agency, where she expressed satisfaction with the level of preparedness of NSRMEA to carry out its mandate and its accomplishment over the years. She said it was heart-warming to see that an agency under the ministry crucial to the diversification agenda of the current administration is actually up and doing, as evident in the numerous exploration works carried out over the years.

Dr Akinlade further urged the management and staff of NSRMEA to build on their successes and be more aggressive in revenue generation which the nation needs at the moment. She pledged government’s continued support in the areas of capacity building and funds for more equipment that will boost their effectiveness in geoscientific exploration and investigation. The visit included a tour of the agency’s complex, including its geological yard which has state-of-the-art drilling rigs, heavy-duty haulage equipment, lifters and mobile cranes, among others. Other sections visited include the Sample Preparation Unit, the X-ray Diffractometer (XRD), X-ray Fluorescent (with the display of a hand-held XRF equipment), Wet Lab, Chemistry Lab, Petrography, and an array of geophysical and Survey equipment.

Speaking in his welcome address before the tour, Director-General of NSRMEA, Dr (Engr) Umar Albarka Hassan thanked the Permanent Secretary for her visit, stating that such visits will give a true picture of what the agency does as well as the state of affairs. He also said that the visit will give her an idea of the challenges and needs of the agency for speedy action. While appreciating the intervention of the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) project and the agency’s participation in NIMEP which has led to increased capacity, he sued for more interventions to truly position the agency for greater work. Dr Hassan said more support is needed to boost the agency’s capacity to effectively carry out its activities, with some recent projects including bauxite exploration in Mambilla Plateau, Iron Ore exploration for NIMEP, and Silica Sand exploration in about five states across the country.