The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite has said Nigeria cannot afford to repeat the mistakes made in oil and gas in mining by exporting raw ore.
He said minerals mined in the country should be processed before being exported.
Mr Adegbite, made this known during his familiarization tour of some media houses in the South Western States.
He noted that mining, before independence, was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy as resources from mining was used to develop infrastructure in oil and gas sector. “The moment we found oil, we turned our focus away from mining and it died, so we are trying to revive it, Nigeria was once quoted on the London metal exchange, we were the highest exporter of columbite in the world, importing tin from Jos, exporting coal from Enugu to the world, we can bring back that era”, he further explained.
Adegbite said the Ministry is currently working a downstream policy that would make exportation of raw ore illegal. “We don’t want to export raw ore in Nigeria anymore, we want to do beneficiation and that is the downstream policy the Ministry is working on and when it comes on stream, nobody can export raw ore in Nigeria again, whatever you mine, you must process locally” This, he said would bring about job creation.
He said the mining sector has the potential to match oil and gas as he noted that, “the lone efforts of artisanal miners would not be enough to generate the needed resources to match oil and gas unless we have big investors and that is why we go on international road shows but the big investors will not come to Nigeria if we do not have data”. He cited the presence of ‘Minors’ such as Thor exploration mining gold in Osun, a Canadian Company quoted on the Toronto stock exchange.