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Investment Opportunities in Solid Minerals (Reviewed, 12th Dec 2001) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

In Nigeria solid minerals is almost synonymous with crude oil, apart from its enormous contribution to revenue, the oil industry contributes only about 25% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs only 6% (or less) of the Nigerian labour force. On the other hand the country has failed to explore other areas in the solid mineral sector which has a combined capacity to provide 5 million jobs both in its upstream and downstream operations. Indeed, there is no gainsaying the fact that the country is endowed with numerous mineral resources. In fact the opportunities which Nigeria offers investors in the field of non-oil export, is immense and irresistible. In 1986 the non-oil export sector was deregulated to create room for private sector initiatives and several incentives were packaged but in spite of all these Nigeria is yet to reclaim her pride of place in international trade.

To overcome this set back, Government recently created the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development to focus on the research and exploration of solid minerals in the economy. This offers a viable alternative to petroleum for foreign exchange earning. Globally, the mining industry has been a close rival to the petroleum industry, although Nigeria earns currently a paltry $89 million per annum from it. But, with the restoration of democratic government in the country the prospect of the solid mineral sector has been brightened.

Generally, mineral resources are classified in terms of their natural state into three groups namely metallic, non-metallic and carbonaceous. Nigeria has arguably the largest Bitumen, Columbite and Tin deposits in the world today. Kaolin occurs in viable commercial quantities in every State of the country and is the raw materials for the paper, pharmaceutical, paint, fertilizer and chemicals industries. The country’s Coal is one of the best in the world with its low sulphur, ash contents and high calorific value. The huge deposits that abound have been very conservatively estimated. Precious minerals including Gold, Diamond, Bauxite, Gypsum, Byrite, Zinc, Aluminium, Copper and others exist in unbelievable quantities. Nigeria boasts of enormous Salt deposits in the Benue trough. Besides, Tantalite another key mineral occurs in very significant quantities across the country.

Industrialisation Potentials

Mineral resources are the primary raw materials for industrialisation. Nigeria has abundant minerals for a wide range of industries. Iron ore and a host of other locally available metallurgical raw materials are being utilized fir the local iron and steel industry. Crude oil and natural gas are the basis for the petrochemical and fertilizer industries. In addition to these heavy industries, the availability of a large number of minerals has supported a dynamic building and construction industry, the chemical industry, and the manufacture of glass, ceramic products as well as other manufacturing processes. Nigeria exports tin, ferrous and non-ferrous minerals as well as gemstones. Common industrial minerals such as sand, clay, limestone and marble are intensively utilized. Bitumen and coal are also important. Inventory of the mineral raw materials in Nigeria has been undertaken by the Raw Materials Research and Development Council since 1987, as part of the Federal government’s drive for the local sourcing of raw materials under the Structural Adjustment Programme. There is a tremendous growth potential for the mineral industry in Nigeria, to meet local demands and that of the Economic Community of West African States. Bitumen and coal mining are priorities to the Ministry Off Solid Minerals development, just as the exploration of gold, talc and diamond will be facilitated through technical assistance from South Africa.

Metallic Minerals

Iron ores of diverse quality and origin are found in Nigeria. The purest ores occur in a series of basement ridges known as the Itakpe Hills in Kogi State. The iron and steel industry, near Ajaokuta exploits this deposit. In the Itakpe iron ore, magnetite and hematite are the main ore minerals. Proven iron ore reserves are at least 200 million tones with a life-span of over 100 years. The commercial ore grades range in ferrous (Fe) content from rich ores with over 50% Fe, medium-grade ores (30 – 50% Fe), to poor ores (25 – 30% Fe). Mining is undertaken by the National Iron Ore Mining Company for the Ajaokuta Steel Plant and the production of super-concentrates at 68% Fe, for the Delta Steel Plant at Aladja near Warri.

Non-Metallic Mineral and Industrial Materials

Crushed rock, gravel, sand and clay are ubiquitous building materials widely used for rural and urban dwellings, and in the construction industry for civil engineering works such as roads, buildings, bridges and dams. The Basement Complex furnishes a rich source of crushed rock which is augmented with basalt, dolerite and limestone in some places. Laterite is a common building and road-surfacing material. River gravel of various sizes are widely available as aggregates and building materials, especially in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States

Sand of glass-making quality has been found and assays in many parts of the country. In Port Harcourt, the Trans-Amadi sands contain over 99% sililcon oxide (S1O2) and at Ughelli, another clean coastal plain, sand deposit assays 97% Silicon oxide (S1O2).

Business Opportunities in this Sector

Deregulation of the mining sector under the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council Decree 1995 allows for 100% foreign ownership of mining operations and other related enterprises. Free repatriation of capital, profits and dividends are added incentives. World Bank finance for mining is now readily available through several agencies. These include the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD); the International Finance Corporation that fund mostly private sector activities; and the International Development Association.

Available solid minerals trade opportunities in Nigeria include the local sales and export of crude and processed solid minerals, the importation and local marketing of modern mining equipment technologies and spares, as well as modern mineral testing and quality control equipment technologies and reagents, mining equipment technologies leasing services, technical consultancy, underground mining technologies services, provision and maintenance of automated systems for mining and construction, engineering and high speed underground exactions and development.

Index Of Principal Mineral Production

(1985 = 100)

         

Mineral

Weights

1996

1997

1998

         

Cassiterite

0.75

8.6

12.8

31.6

Columbite

0.09

31.1

46.5

96.8

Coal

0.13

16.9

12.9

10.8

Limestone

0.09

10.2

10.2

5.9

All Minerals

100

129

141.5

134.4

         

1/Revised

2/Estimates

Sources: Federal Ministry of Solid Mineral Development; Nigerian Coal Corporation, Enugu and CBN Surveys. 

If you are interested in investing in this sector, you may contact the following for further information:

Contacts:

Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development

Headquarters
Block 5 (5th floor) Federal Secretariat Complex,
Shehu Shagari Way, Central Area,
P.M.B 107, Garki, Abuja

Tel: +234 (9) 5239064

The Minister,
Alhaji Musa Gwadabe

Tel: +234 (9) 5235830

The Minister of State,
Dr. (Mrs.) Becky Ketebu-Igwe

Permanent Secretary,
Professor B. Barkindo

+234 (9) 5236454

Lagos Liaison Office
Federal Secretariat Complex
Phase I (12th floor),
P.M.B 4003, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Tel: +234 (1) 2690860
+234 (1) 682911

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