The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said that Nigeria can generate about N5tn yearly if it opens up the sector.
He also said that the solid minerals sector had the potential to generate a lot of jobs.
Fayemi stated this at the third Chief John Agboola Odeyemi Annual Lecture at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
He said a reform programme was accordingly being scripted by the government.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Harnessing natural resources for national development’, Fayemi said the country was blessed with various natural endowments scattered across every state of the federation.
“Ironically, these natural endowments contribute less than one per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
Quoting the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Fayemi said the nation could generate at least N5tn yearly from mining and exporting of the vast solid mineral deposits.
He stated, “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 has been appropriately tagged as Nigeria’s home of solid minerals. The state is one of the most naturally endowed states in the country 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, granite, tantalite, talc, gemstone, topaz, cassiterite, quartz, cooking coal, marble and iron ore. Bauchi is another richly endowed state in the North with metal ores, non-metallic ores 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, wolframite and others.”
Fayemi, however, said that certain constraints were currently limiting the states from exploiting the mineral resources, a challenge which, he noted could be addressed through necessary reform programmes.
The minister added, “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 negates 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 revenues.”