Exploration of mineral deposits is a highly risky and costly venture. The risks include geological and mineral investigation (geological mapping, geophysical and geochemical surveys) costs, drilling costs, the risk of dry holes or failure to find quantities (at the time of exploration) suitable enough for consideration for exploitation or for commercial consideration. These risks (in addition to country specific ones such as security of tenure, safety, access to land, local health etc.) are limiting factors in the development of mining sector of a country.
To put a country in a competitive position to attract investors, countries usually take on the first line of risks, especially geological and mineral exploration risks.
Reducing geological and mineral exploration risks is the responsibility of national geoscience organisations such as the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency.
The NATIONAL INTEGRATED MINERAL EXPLORATION PROGRAMME
NIMEP is a conscious effort by Federal Government of Nigeria to carry out integrated exploration to reduce risk to the mining investor and provide geoscience data. The programme in its design took advantage of the known metallogenic belts in the country and ensured the use deep information, knowledge and skills residing in the government institution for the execution.
The objectives of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Programme are to:
- Reduce the risk to the mineral investor, of finding mineral quantities for commercial considerations; and
- Bring up data, information and knowledge of the nature and type of mineral occurrence/associations existing in the locations of investigation (both greenfield and brownfield) – it is right and correct for a nation to know what is within its borders.
- Spur the desired investment into the sector to generate foreign exchange, substitute for import, develop local industries, generate employment, and create wealth along the mineral value chain.