Magazine article New African

Nigeria Opens a New Mining Chapter

Magazine article New African

Nigeria Opens a New Mining Chapter

Article excerpt

With the severe drop in the price of oil, Nigeria's primary foreign exchange earner over the last five decades, the revival of the non-oil mining sector, which contributes less than 1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is a major priority for Africa's most populous country. Kayode Fayemi, the Minister for Mines and Steel Development (pictured right, in the middle, with President Buhari on the right and Abubakar Bwari, Minister of State, on the left), observed in September that "Non-oil sectors of our economy have contributed less than 10% of our revenue over the past decade."

But this has not always been the case. In the 1930s, Nigeria was one of the seven countries accounting for 15-25% of global tin production, with Jos being the world's sixth largest producer.

Enugu, in southeastern Nigeria, was the hub of coal mining during the country's pre-independence period, earning it the "Coal City" sobriquet. Mining was a major contributor to Nigeria's pre-1960 revenue base and was a significant employer of skilled and unskilled labour, until oil became the country's primary foreign exchange earner. Nigeria's present-day non-oil mineral resources can be broadly categorised into five groups: Industrial minerals (barite, kaolin, gypsum, feldspar and limestone); Energy minerals (such as bitumen, lignite and uranium); Metallic ore minerals (such as gold, cassiterite, columbite, iron ore, lead-zinc and copper); Construction minerals (such as granite, gravel, laterite and sand) and Precious stones (such as topaz, amethyst, tourmaline, sapphires, emeralds and garnets). …

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