The Federal Government has said that it is encouraging a United Kingdom-based mining company, Lakel Group, to invest in the nation’s bitumen industry to leverage the economic diversification drive and by so doing, create jobs for Nigerians.

The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, disclosed this during a courtesy visit by a delegation of the UK-based entity led by the Chief Executive Officer, Lawrence Ajayi, to his office in Abuja.

He pointed out that the country’s mining sector was at the verge of outright collapse before the present administration moved to revitalize it by deploying necessary resources to the sector in view of its role as an engine of diversification for shared prosperity.

The minister said that the commitment of government’s effort to diversify the economy through the solid minerals sector was geared towards ending the over reliance on oil and gas, adding that with the new global perception about Nigeria’s mining sector, investors should see the country as an investment haven in mining business.

He explained: “Although the potentials in the sector were enormous, poor funding and lack of exploration left the sector comatose.

“The present government’s emphasis on economy diversification and effort in the last three years has rescued the situation in the sector, which also government has tackled a number of legacy issues that stifled the growth of mining and now the interest in the Nigerian mining landscape has grown tremendously as a result. Halting age fraud in Nigerian football

“Any investor wishing to cash in on the resurgence of activities in the sector, the time to do so is now considering the mouth-watering incentives available to serious players”, Bwari advised.

While commending the team of investors for demonstrating technical expertise in their presentation, the minister assured them of government’s commitment to creating enabling environment for all enterprises interested in the mining and other sectors to thrive.

This is even as he charged the team to avail themselves geoscience data available at the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) which covers some exploratory work on the area of their interests.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of the Lakel Group explained why the company was inspired to invest in the Nigerian mining sector, saying that the investment motivation is a result of the effort put in by the present administration to revitalize the nation’s mining sector.

Ajayi promised that the company would operate in accordance with the Mining Act by protecting the environment and ensuring peaceful co-existence with host communities.