There are indications that the Federal Government is set to attract local and foreign investors into the solid minerals sector of the economy.
This, it was learnt, is in order to be able to increase the sector’s contributions to the country’s Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) from 0.1 per cent to five per cent by 2015.
This is as government, through the Ministry of Mines and and Steel Development, continue to shop for more investors in Africa and Europe, among others, in recent times.
The aim, according to the Director, Artisinal and Small Scale Mining Department, Mr Ojeka Patrick, was to help create industrial sites for the numerous resources in the country and generate employment opportunities for the teeming youths of the country.
He said government has pooled investments worth N15 billion together for its National Integrated Minerals Exploration Project
( NIMEP), stating that the investments would help in wooing investors into the country.
Patrick further said that NIMEP was designed to improve exploration of solid minerals, an issue, which has been relegated to the background.
Others include the issue of de-risking the mining landscape by making it more friendly to local and foreign investors who want to explore resources such as gold and iron ore, among others, for growth.
He said that once the mining landscape is de-risked, more investments would come and productivity will be enhanced.
Activities relating to geoscience, Partrick said, will increase once NIMEP begins operation fully in the country, stressing that Nigerians will not find it difficult to key into the minerals needed for the smooth take off of the fourth industrial revolution.
Also, Patrick said that local companies, including Dangote Group and BUA Cement Industry, have already keyed into the growth plans of the sector by purchasing Lime to grow their companies.
He said: “Dangote and BUA have increased their patronage of LIME in order to help grow those firms. LIME is a major component employed in the production of cement and allied materials needed to grow the real estate in Nigeria and beyond.
Patric noted that “considering this area and other projects executed by the Federal Government, in order to give directions to the sector, one can say categorically that the future is very bright for the nation’s mining Industry.”
He expressed optimism that the efforts of government would pay off soon and that more jobs for the teeming unemployed population would come in the process.
Recall that the Minister of Steel and Sold Minerals Development, Adegbite Olamilekan, had informed stakeholders about the enormous opportunities in the nation’s sold minerals industry.
Speaking during a forum in Abuja recently, Olamilekan noted that solid minerals was discovered before oil, stressing that solid minerals was easier to mine than oil.
He noted that despite the discovery of several mineral deposits in commercial quantities in Nigeria, the country was unable to unearth the huge minerals deposited in the sector, a development, which has affected the growth of the industy.