Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the British Geological Survey have concluded plans to commence the process of retrieving about 7,000 missing colonial geological reports and data on the mining industry needed for adequate archiving.
Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver), Mr Linus Adie, stated that former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, while on a mission to the United Kingdom, visited the British Geological Survey in an effort to recover geological reports and papers on the mineral potentials in Nigeria.
He said the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency(NGSA) had over the years been requesting the release of these reports which has been coming in bits and when they arrive, they get missing due to lack of reliable archiving system.
To ensure a permanent database and archiving system therefore, the federal government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development decided to build a National Geo Data Centre with a digital archiving system that will include retrieved reports on geological works and updated geological information in the mining industry.
He said the data to be digitalized and archived are those from the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) and National Steel Raw Material Exploration Agency Kaduna, (NSRMEA).
Director general Nigeria Geological Survey Agency Dr Abdulrazaq Garba who witnessed the presentation by the team from the British Geological Survey, comprising Mr Simon Flower, Dr Joseph Mankelow, Martin Nice and Jenny Foster, at the Mineral Sector Support For Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) conference room said the move marks a turning point in Nigeria’s geological archiving system.
According to him, it means that information will be properly collected, processed, stored, digitally archived and disseminated in a seamless manner.
He said access to correct geological reports and data is today the most viable means of attracting foreign investments, since investors seek for correct information and data for informed decisions.
“We have been looking forward to this at the NGSA because companies and investors are interested in information and this move underscores the importance the federal government and the ministry is attaching to it to make Nigeria a mining destination.
We are looking at a system that data generated will be put in a system to be stored, archived and accessed so as to make Nigeria accessible and operate as an organized set in the mining sector.
Garba said the archiving will also help investors in accessing information from sister agencies like the Mining Cadastre Office liaise with them to get relevant data they can make use of. “The first step is to carry out inventory of what is available at the NGSA to start with in terms of personnel, hardware, software, facility and then look at what we need to put in place to kick start the process.”
As part of a sustainable plan for the project, the British Geological Survey will train NGSA staff at BGS core facility in the UK on the current dynamics of digitalized archiving system.