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Nigeria’s Mineral Reserves Valued at $750bn, Says Alake, Pushes For Local Processing To Boost Economy 

Minister Alake says the mining sector has the potential to contribute a large part of Nigeria’s trillion-dollar economy goal.

Nigeria’s Minister of Solids Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has revealed that a preliminary report by a German firm, GeoScan, indicated that Nigeria sits on several minerals worth $750 billion.

Speaking during a Summit organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and Bruit Costaud on Monday, in Nigeria, Alake said the mining sector has the potential to contribute a large part of the nation’s goal to achieve a trillion-dollar economy as pushed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Alake, while stating that the president was pushing several reforms to rejuvenate the sector, said there was a need to avoid Nigeria being a mining pit for solid minerals while the processing and conversion to other products are done in other countries.

He stated this was the reason he was pursuing local value addition in products mined in the country.

He however, said the availability of data was important to attract investors that would establish plants in Nigeria to process the minerals and create a multiplier effect on job creation and growth in the economy.

“We are working with the World Bank, Excalibur and GeoScan, a German company, to get the necessary data on the sector. That is why the federal government signed a memorandum of understanding with Geoscan and they did a preliminary survey of our minerals on the output and potential. They gave us a figure of $750 billion worth of minerals embedded under the ground of Nigeria.

“That is a conservative estimate, by the time we conduct a serious, accurate data exploration, we will discover that we have trillions of solid minerals embedded under. So, the president’s projection of a one-dollar economy is not a fluke.

“By the time we are done with all of these efforts, input and policies we are putting in place, trillions of naira will be a child’s play and we will be nudging trillions of dollars,” he added.

The Minister added that part of its reform was the establishment of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation.

“When I first read this, a lot of people were taken aback and skeptic because what rang in their mind was NNPC, that is we are going to establish something similar like NNPC, which is a quasi- government venture.

“But no, the proposed corporation is vastly different in nomenclature, structure and operation,” he added, saying the establishment of the corporation was presently before the National Assembly.

“We are proposing 50 per cent of the equity entirely to the private sector, 25 per cent to Nigerians at large and 25 per cent to the government,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abullali Sule, said investment in solid minerals was the way to go.

He said lithium is the new gold and Nigeria has abundant of it, adding that the biggest lithium processing factory would soon be inaugurated.

The Director General of NIPSS, Ayo Omotaya, said the summit was organised to chart a way forward for the mining sector.

Folalumi Alaran

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