September 18 2017
By Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development
Foreign investors are showing increasing interest in Nigeria's mineral deposits and preliminary discussions are going on with the government representatives, particularly on key mineral deposits including, gold, coal, lead, bitumen, iron ore, barite and limestone.
"Comet Minerals Limited, the Australian firm operating in Nigeria, discovered nickel in Kaduna state. From discussions at the just concluded African Down Under Conference in Australia, many companies and organisations are showing interest in prospecting for nickel, " Yinka Oyebode, special assistant to the Ministry of Mines and Steel told BusinessDay.
Oyebode, said, "I can authoritatively tell you that many of them besieged the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development's stands at the conference, seeking further geological information on nickel and other minerals in the country, with Minister Fayemi responding accordingly".
Speaking on the outcomes of the conference which brought together the global mining business community, Oyebode confirmed that coal recorded a good deal of enquiries by prospective investors. According to him, 'Some consulting firms are also interested in partnering with the ministry in some aspects of the work currently done on coal by the Federal Government".
Apart from oil, Nigeria is also richly endowed with a variety of solid minerals, which remain largely untapped.
The solid mineral deposits are estimated to be in millions of metrics tons, and are capable of creating hundreds of jobs and generating more revenues than oil if properly developed and managed.
Experts say the mining sector indicated a tremendous opportunity for growth, as it accounts for 0.02 per cent of exports, 0.3 per cent of national employment but contributes only 0.5 percent and an estimated N2 billion to the nation's Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
The Buhari administration has been embarking on a series of reforms in the mining sector, as a strategic sector to diversification initiative
Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said the current administration's integrated reforms have been principally targeted at de-risking the sector, by addressing some legacy challenges, such as: Limited Access to Finance; Insufficient Geological Data; Inadequate Infrastructure; Limited Cooperative Federalism in Sector Governance; Low Productivity; Weak Institutional Capacity of Government Entities; Weak Ease of Doing Business and Perception Issues; as well as illegal Artisanal Mining and Community Challenges.
The minister of mines and steel development had urged states and local government authorities to champion the registration process for local miners, adding that it is only through this approach that their operations could be monitored, guided and supported for optimal contribution to the economy and for a safer mining environment.
Oyebode said; "the formalisation of the artisanal miners is an ongoing process and as such, the number of miners embracing formalised mining is on the increase"