Federal Government will deploy technology to diversify the economy, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said.
He said this at the launch of the Solid Minerals Machinery and Equipment Development Institute (SOMMEDI) in Nasarawa on Saturday.
According to him, such effort will promote the country from being a consumer nation to a producer nation.
He said “the Solid Minerals Machinery and Equipment Development Institute is very important to the diversification programme of Federal Government.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to making sure that our economy is diversified. The reason for this is that we cannot continue to import into our country, the things that we can indeed produce by ourselves.
“This is why this institute is very important because it will also help us to design, produce, and manufacture machinery and equipment for processing of solid minerals and by so doing, jobs will be created for our people.”
The minister also said that some organisations would be engaged in producing spare parts of the machines that could be sent to the factory for assembling.
Onu commended the Nasarawa State Government for collaborating with Federal Government toward establishing SOMMEDI and urged the state government to secure the equipment in the institute.
The Governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-makura, said SOMMEDI was one of the results of the good relationship between Federal Government and Nasarawa State Government.
He added that SOMMEDI was established through collaboration between the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) and the Nasarawa State Government.
He said “the collaboration was articulated and implemented through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 23, 2012.”
The governor promised that the state would support the institute to experience rapid development.
The NASENI Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Sani Haruna, said SOMMEDI was established as a mono-mandate institute of NASENI to design, develop, fabricate and mass produce solid minerals mining and processing tools, machinery and equipment.
Haruna said “the institute is also to provide the enabling environment for sustainable industrialisation of the mining and solid minerals sector and to transfer developed technologies to manufacturers, mining operators, mineral processors and SMES in the sector.
“The goals of SOMMEDI are to improve and revolutionise mining operations in Nigeria by providing necessary tooling through need-oriented Research and Development and applications for optimal productivity, efficiency, skills and economic growth.
“It is to provide intervention programmes for value addition toward achieving sustained commercialisation of technologies, technical innovations and inventions, using advanced technologies to enhance attainment of industrial, social and economic competitiveness and improve quality of living.”
“The institute is to use advanced technologies for material identification and characterisation of minerals.”
Haruna said the institute would serve as capacity building enhancement, skill acquisition, research and development in the area of solid minerals development and processing, solid minerals machinery and equipment design, development and production.
According to him, SOMMEDI will invent and deploy robotics, unmanned machinery and Artificial Intelligence techniques for mineral exploration and processes.
He maintained that the institute wound provide consultancy services in chemical analysis of minerals, mineralogical analysis of minerals, exploration and geology, mine planning, design and optimisation, mineral processing, test-design and plant design.