The Federal Government has commenced the implementation of Low Density Geochemical Mapping Project between China Geological survey (CGS) and Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA).

The event was launched by the Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari in Abuja.

The Minister in his opening address stated that the key areas being considered in the project are the Low-Density Geochemical Mapping and the National- Geo-Information System and Geo-data sharing, two critical areas necessary for nation building.

He noted that Nigeria is endowed with over 44 identified and presumably other yet undiscovered minerals in the country, the need for a more defined array of geoscience information especially geochemical data becomes essential for mining sector investment and for environmental sustainability. This the Minister said will no doubt contribute to the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Target of the present administration.

Bwari reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to reposition the mining sector and significantly improve its contributions to the GDP of the country. He said the President has taken decisive steps in advancing the diversification agenda of the Federal Government by de-risking the sector in many ways, these include the recent commissioning of the Nationwide Integrated Minerals Exploration Programme (NIMEP); acquisition of 26,000 Line- Kilometres of Electromagnetic data, improved funding for the sector and initiative of the National Council on mining among other initiatives, he stated.

According to the Minister, the key enables that will fast-track the achievement of these objectives is the building of the necessary technical and other requisite skills that will ensure the supply of steady talents required by the sector in Nigeria.

He said the commencement of the Nationwide Geochemical Mapping exercise is coming at the most auspicious time and commended the China Geological Survey for their critical input in the project.

He enjoined all participants to take the project seriously, considering the enormous efforts that both Parties have put in place to actualise the programme.

Earlier, the Director General Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Mr. Alex Nwegbu disclosed that the process for the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) started as far back as 2012 but the MOU was signed in November, 2016, during the visit of Hon. Bawa Bwari at the Nigerian Mining Show held in Beijing China.

The MOU captured various areas including research and development in basic geology, geological map compilation and regional composition among others. To operationalize the MOU, two implementation agreement were formulated and signed in 2017 at the Beijing Convention Centre during the 2017 China Mining Expo.

“ Today’s event marks a step further towards implementation of these agreement, seven scientists of China Geological Survey are in Nigeria to commence the process of the implementation of the low- density geological mapping programme on the nation geo-information system of geo-data sharing in Nigeria” he added.

The DG said the cooperation between China and Nigeria in the project is expected to improve on the previous and analysis of more than 60 elements which is consistent with the present administration’s efforts to diversify the nation’s economy through the mining and solid minerals sector.

He said participants are drawn from NGSA and other agencies of the Ministry. “It is therefore my hope that this capacity building in the areas of geochemical mapping and geo information will no doubt enhance the professional competence of our geoscientists and thus be adequately equipped to actualise the diversification agenda of Mr. President through the mining sector. He commended the Hon. Minister for graciously facilitating the project” the DG added.

The team leader of the Chinese delegation, Professor Yao Wensheng, in his presentation expressed appreciation to the leaders of the two countries for the promotion and establishment of the project saying the commencement of the project is a good start for the cooperation in the field of geosciences and the two countries will achieve a lot with the effort of the two leaders.

Mr. Wensheng noted that the China Geological Survey has over 40 years’ experience in the field of geoscience and is ready to share its experience with Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

“Early this month in Beijing, we held a Summit of China and African countries and the Summit where there was an announcement that Beijing Action Plan for 3 years. The two sides will actively consider the establishment of China – Africa Geoscience Cooperation Centre for a joint research under natural resources sustainable development” he added.