The Role of Engineering in Natural Resources Exploitation of Developing Countries


I. S. Amoka
Mineral Resources Engineering Department, Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna, Nigeria

The backwardness and slow technological and economic growth of most developing countries may be attributed largely to the retarded and inefficient exploitation of their abundant natural resources.   The challenges of exploiting basic natural resources are highlighted with particular reference to developing countries. The roles and interrelationships of the various engineering disciplines in the development process are illustrated. To ensure indispensable contribution of engineers to national growth and development, practical measures must be evolved for their production and productive employment.   Other crucial challenges especially for the government include economic re-orientation, and the promotion and development of appropriate technology.

At creation, the human race was given the right to "fill the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish, the fowl and over every living thing." This has been considered as the divine Magna Charta for all true scientific and material progress (1).   Thus, man is expected to acquire knowledge and mastery over his material environment and to bring its elements into the service of society.   Most engineering societies and councils define engineering as the profession in which a knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to economically utilise the materials and forces of nature for the benefit of mankind (2).   The engineering profession therefore uses the gifts and permission of the Creator to make the earth a better and beneficial place to live in.
Society should thus expect engineers to work on natural systems dealing with problems whose solutions are of interest and benefit to that society. These systems could be grouped...