The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved N30bn intervention fund for the mining sector.
It also approved technical advisers for the concession of railway line.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of the council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; and the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.
Fayemi said the approval of the intervention fund for the mining sector was in fulfilment of Buhari’s campaign promise to diversify the economy with emphasis on agriculture and mining sector.
The minister said the fund would focus more on exploration which he said was at the heart of mining.
He said, “If we really must attract mining investment into the country, we need investment-based geological data for those who are in mining to be engaged in the sector.
“This is necessary having looked at what has been done in other countries even smaller than Nigeria, countries like Burkina Faso spending averagely $300m a year on exploration and Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and so on.
“This is why council approved this for mining and this is significant because this is the accessing of natural source development fund which has been made 1.68 per cent of the Federation Account, an equivalent of the Ecological Fund and the Education Trust Fund.
“It is meant primarily for agriculture sector, mining sector and the water resources sector and this will cover exploration primarily but also research and development in partnership with our universities.
“It will also cover security and mining in partnership with the Ministries of Interior and Defence and the DSS just to tackle the menace of illegal mining across the country.”
Fayemi said the fund would also support small scale miners with lands.
Amaechi said the council approved advisers that would sit with General Electric as experts to negotiate the concession arrangement for the railway line.
He said the firm had proposed 25 years of concession period which is still open to debate.