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Government targets N5tr yearly from mining




The Federal Government has affirmed that mining business has the potential to buoy the nation’s economy by N5 trillion a year, with concomitant bright prospects of creating thousands of job opportunities.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who stated this at the third Chief John Agboola Odeyemi’s yearly lecture at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Oyo State, also explained that states may exploit mineral resources from their respective domains, despite its being on the exclusive legislature list, through a reform programme being scripted by the government.

Speaking on ‘Harnessing natural resources for national development’, Fayemi painted the picture of a nation blessed with various natural endowments, scattered in every state within the country. “Ironically, these natural endowments contribute less than one per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

Quoting the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, the Minister said the nation “can generate at least N5 trillion yearly from mining and exporting of its vast solid mineral deposits with several multiplier effects on job creation, state development and social infrastructure that could position the solid minerals sector as the main catalyst for national development.”

According to him, “Nigeria’s potentially most beneficial solid minerals are spread around the nation. Limestone deposits occur in Cross River, Ogun, Benue, Gombe, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Edo and Kogi states; magnesite in Adamawa and Kebbi states; coal in Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Delta, Plateau, Anambra, Abia, Benue, Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Adamawa and Kwara states; wolframite in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi and Niger states; silver is found in Kano, with kyanite in Kaduna and Niger states; manganese in the Northern states of Kebbi, Katsina and Zamfara with diatomite found in Yobe state, while ilmenite-rutile is found in Bauchi, Plateau and Kaduna states; fluorite is found in Taraba state with gold in Niger, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara and Zamfara, Osun and Oyo states.

“Nassarawa state in the North has been appropriately tagged as Nigeria’s home of solid minerals. The state is one of the most naturally endowed states in Nigeria in terms of the availability of economically and commercially viable natural resources. These include clay, columbite, ilmenite, mica, barytes, pyrite, galena, limestone, sodium chloride, ephalerite, silica sand, granites, tantalite, talc, gemstone, topaz, cassiterite, quartz, coking coal, marble and iron ore. Bauchi is another richly endowed state in the north with metal ores, non-metallic ore and gemstones.

“Other untapped mineral resources in Bauchi include kaolin, talc, tin, quartz, iron ore, gypsum, zircon, calcite, tantalite, chalcopyrite, mica, copper ore, limestone, tourmaline, beryl, garnet, columbite, muscovite, aquamarine, topaz, marcle, bismuth, wolfromite and others.”

He added that “there is ample geological evidence that confirms a truth we have always intuited- that every zone, region and state in Nigeria has something to bring to the national table of resource riches. The task now is to effectively administer them for the good of all Nigerians.”

He however noted that certain constraints currently limit the states from exploiting mineral resources, a challenge which he said, could be addressed through necessary reform programme.

He said: “The main factors that militate against states being able to appropriate and exploit these resources are rooted in our constitutional architecture which centralises control over subsoil resources in the federal government. Not only does this feature negate the principle of subsidiarity, which would have allowed states to fully explore their economic potential; it means that there are no real incentives for states to become involved in mining, because taxes and royalties do not accrue directly to states but to the federal government. This grossly limits the capacity of states to boost their internally generated revenue.

“This is a broad consensus that this arrangement requires reform. A key objective of such envisaged reform would see the transfer of mines and minerals from the exclusive legislature list and therefore exclusive federal jurisdiction to the concurrent legislature list where states can exercise greater jurisdiction than is presently the case.”

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