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Nigeria designates 7 minerals to unlock economy

The Federal Government has designated seven of the country’s strategic minerals to unlock the enormous potential in the mining sector.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development Mr Olamilekan Adegbite announced this at a webinar organised by Nigerian Economic Summit Group NESG to discuss opportunities of the sector post Covid-19

Mr Adegbite examined that the double-ended shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent sharp decline in oil prices had led to a revenue shortfall for the country.

He listed the minerals to include: coal, iron ore, bitumen, gold, limestone, lead-zinc, and barite.

He said the country was endowed with over 44 different mineral types occurring in over 500 locations across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory FCT.

“Seven of these minerals have been designated strategic to unlock the enormous potential in the sector, they are coal, iron ore, bitumen, gold, limestone, lead-zinc, and barite.

Alongside the seven strategic minerals, the ministry is also looking into key minerals to fuel the future. These include metals such as titanium, tungsten, lithium, and cobalt, which have various applications in futuristic industries such as aerospace, telecoms, and electric vehicle manufacturing,” the minister said.

He stressed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had been making efforts to diversify the economy away from oil through the development of the mining and agricultural sectors.

The Minister said, the Nigerian Mining Industry Roadmap formulated in 2016, highlights clear policy direction on how to develop the sector which is being improved upon to unlock the potential in the sector.

Adding that the structural reforms embarked upon in the industry were geared towards supporting the emergence of a vibrant private sector and to stimulate resource-based industrialization.

“It is predicated on the principle that government serves as a regulator, providing an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. We are trying to stimulate mineral processing across the country using a cluster or hub approach.

“In the longer term, the upgrade, completion, and operation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant operations would enhance jobs and revenue generation.

“The project is based on a bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Russia, with funding from the Afrexim bank and the Russian Export Centre,”

According to him, other ongoing initiatives to stimulate the growth of the industry include: working with several stakeholders to design mining-specific and credit enhancement instruments among others.

Hadiza Abdulrahman

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