At the Third Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja, Alhaji Abubakar Bwari, Nigeria’s Minister of State, Mines and Development revealed that private investors have expressed their interest to commit about $3.32 billion to fund projects being developed in Nigeria’s mining sector.
The minister said the funds will be used to finance gold mining and refining, lead/zinc exploration and production, as well as tin, tantalite and columbite mining and processing. He noted that the ministry was working on addressing challenges impeding the formal exploitation of gold, tin, lead-zinc, as well as stop indiscriminate exports of these mineral commodities to foreign smelters.
Bwari acknowledged that Nigeria can survive without crude, given the country’s huge potential in the non-oil sector. Agriculture, mines and steel are lucrative sectors capable of boosting the country’s economic growth.
Despite Nigeria being blessed with over 44 types of solid minerals in varying quantities across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory of the country, the contribution of mineral resources to the nation’s gross domestic product was very low, hovering within the region of 103 billion Naira in 2014.
This development shows Nigeria’s mining sector has been dormant and abandoned for illegal miners to profit, while genuine investors get the short end of the stick. When crude oil prices crashed, the Nigerian government decided to diversify the economy, making mining and agriculture the priority.
There had been no clear-cut structure for discerning investors to invest in Nigeria’s solid minerals sector. Given the recent efforts by the government to pay attention to the sector and diversify the country’s economy, it may be a good time for anyone intending to invest in the country’s mining sector.