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Alake urges 18 bitumen winners to develop Nigeria’s deposits

From Charity Nwakaudu, Abuja
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, has  charged 18 winners of the first round of Bitumen blocks bidding process to roll up their sleeves and work hard to develop Nigeria’s Bitumen deposits. 
Speaking during a meeting with the concessionaires, Alake urged them to live up to expectations by complying with the terms of engagement and relevant sections of the mining act whilst taking cognisance of the host communities and seeking their cooperation.
“ We want to know for instance as you move forward, how much of taxes you are paying, the royalties you are remitting, the local value addition that you are putting in place, the local employment generation or the multiplier effect and then the impact on your host communities. I will advise that you endeavour to engage your host communities and get their buy-in through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and other efforts you can make to ensure seamless operations which will culminate in maximum beneficiation for you as investors, the communities and government”, the Minister added.
Alake, whilst hinting at another round of bidding, urged the first round winners to post superlative performance, which will serve as encouragement to prospective investors.
The Minister promised the support of the Federal Government for the Bitumen investors, stating that their success holds immense potential for economic growth and prosperity, heralding diversification  of the economy.
In his remarks, the Director-General of the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO), Engr. Obadiah Nkom revealed that there have been two unsuccessful attempts at concessioning Nigeria’s Bitumen blocks in 2002 and  2008.
He noted that following the latest successful bidding process, the MCO granted a total of thirty-four (34) bitumen licenses, comprising (18) exploration licenses and sixteen (16) mining licenses. The approval was granted after the minister’s approval and a final endorsement by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
In another significant development, Dr. Alake inaugurated two high-powered committees for the development of Bitumen. The first is a ministerial committee chaired by MCO DG, Engr. Nkom and a Technical Committee to monitor and evaluate Bitumen activities chaired by the Director, Mines Inspectorate of the Ministry, Engr. Imam Ganiyu.
The inauguration of these committees marks a pivotal moment in the nation’s journey towards harnessing its vast Bitumen resources.
The committees” Terms of Reference (ToR) includes making recommendations that will sanitise the Bitumen production environment; ensure that everything pertaining to operations in the sector is above board; advise government on how to avoid the hiccups that plagued the oil industry amongst others.

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