Diversification of revenue base has become a drive for most government institutions in Nigeria and universities are grabbing the idea, which is always targeted at boosting revenue and generating jobs.

One sector that has not been fully explored in Nigeria is the mining sector, despite the nation’s dependency on crude oil sales for its revenue.

To boost activities in the sector the Nigerian government has issued a licence to the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, which would allow the institution engage in mining activities.

The development was announced in a statement by Mrs Lydian Legbu and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Minna on Thursday.

It said that the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Musbau Akanji, received the Reconnaissance Permit and Exploration Licence issued by the Nigeria Mining Cadastral

Akanji said that the institution applied for the licence a year ago, to checkmate illegal mining on its land.

He further stated that the university would partner with investors in the sector, and commended the Department of Geology for its efforts in actualising the issuance of the licence.

The vice chancellor explained that the university would undertake environmental impact assessment before venturing into exploration.

By diversifying into mining activities, the university would widen its revenue base and open up new vistas for academic development, he stated.

In a remark, the Director, University Ventures, Professor Shehu Ma’aji, described the development as a landmark achievement for the institution.

Also, the Head of Geology Department, Dr Idris Abdullahi, said that with the issuance of the licence, the university has the option of going into direct mining or bringing in other experts.

He explained that after feasibility studies, more areas owned by the university would be placed on mining lease, valid for 25 years.

The Reconnaissance Permit is valid for one year, while the Exploration Licence has three-year validity, renewable for two further periods of two years each.

It is not clear which mining activity the school will be focusing on but some natural resources in the state are Talc, Gold, Ball Clays, Silica, Sand, Marble, Copper, Iron, Felsper, Lead, Kaolin, Casserole, Columbite, Mica, Quartzite, and Limestone.

One boost that companies that may invest in mining in the state would have is power availability since the three Hydro Electric Power Stations in Nigeria - Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro - are all situated in Niger State.