By Abdullahi Mohammed,
The Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) and GeoScan GmbH of Berlin, Germany, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on solid mineral development.
The agreement was formalised on Sunday during the visit of German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz to Abuja, Nigeria.
Minister of Solid Minerals Development Mr Dele Alake said this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Highlighting the significance of the MoU, the minister said it is expected to advance solid minerals exploration, exploitation, and judicious use of the revenue accruing to the federal government.
He said GeoScan GmBH possesses cutting-edge technology capable of exploring mineral deposits up to 10,000 meters below the surface, which is a remarkable advancement in the field of mineral exploration.
He emphasized the cost-effectiveness of the proprietary technology, saying it is 80% cheaper than current exploration processes and three times faster in locating underground deposits.
“Yesterday you are all aware and even attended the visit of the German Chancellor to our president. Of course the German Chancellor came in to strengthen bilateral relations between our two countries, Nigeria and Germany.
“Now for quite a while my ministry has been talking to some highly technical companies in Germany. And since the visit of the German Chancellor yesterday (Sunday) underscored the importance of strengthening bilateral relations especially socio economic bilateral relations.
“I’m happy to announce that the Ministry of Solid Minerals broke a landmark record of signing an MOU with one of the top notch geo scientific technology companies in the world, which is Geo-scan GmbH, is a German company.
“The company was also in delegation of the German Chancellor yesterday and the MOU was signed yesterday through the SMDF that is the solid minerals development fund.
“And now the significance of this epochal event is that this company has the latest top of the line technologies, is a proprietary technology for exploration,” he said.
The minister said when compared with the existing worldwide techniques, the Geo-scan technology is not only more cost-effective but also locates mineral reserves three times faster.
“It means that you can see deep down up to 10,000 meters for the mineral deposits that are available. And if you are vast in the space of solid minerals, you know that it’s exploration, exploitation and extraction and the processes, you would know that exploration is an expensive business. Even the gathering of geo data is very very expensive.
“This particular technology, which is top notch like I said, is 80% cheaper than current processes in the world, is three times faster to locate deposits down on your ground, and so with our own mineral deposits, that we conservatively estimated at about $700 billion under the ground.
“And scrambling to exploit judiciously, we constitute about 0.02% of the global mining budget. And with this $700 billion estimation of our solid minerals deposit, we still have over 90% of the entire landscape of Nigeria unexplored.
“And because it’s an expensive business that underscores the significance of the landmark that we recorded yesterday with the Geo-Scan GmbH, supported also by the German chancellor, supported by our president .
“And I’m happy to tell you now, no kobo commitment on the back of Nigeria. The company will come and establish its technology, its plant here and a move around the country enable us to further explore all other mineral deposits that we have.
“At the end of the day, we cannot begin to put a figure on the amount of resources solid mineral resources that we have in Nigeria. Lithium for instance.
“Like I said, yesterday, critical minerals, which are called critical metals in international minerals and natural space they are in abundance in Nigeria and are right now the global trend is the clamour for climate change. Green transition to green energy, clean energy.
“Now this critical resource that we have in terms of solid minerals are also very significant in the production and manufacturing of electric vehicles, batteries, electronic components, all kinds of top notch technological equipment in today’s world, and we have these things,” he said.
The minister said the MOU signed with Geo-scan GmbH is not only expected to drive solid mineral exploration and exploitation but also contribute substantially to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“This will significantly move us forward in achieving the renewable agenda of making solid minerals to become the next petroleum of Nigeria and contributing most significantly to the gross domestic product,” he said.