The Role of the Mining Sector on the Nigerian Economy

Nigeria is a country blessed with various resources ranging from population, fertile land, forest, rivers, iron ore, uranium, coal, barites, limestone, crude oil, lead-zinc, gold, etc. However, the country has about 44 solid mineral Antminer K7 that can be found in about 450 locations nationwide. Seven of these minerals are considered strategic minerals by the Nigerian Ministry of Mines and Steel for accelerated development.

These are Gold, Coal, Barytes, Tantalite, Iron ore, Bitumen, and Lead/Zinc. Currently, the Nigerian government relies immoderately on crude oil, and this has resulted in very little concentration of government in mining activities and it contributes to slowing the sector’s growth. The contribution of the mining sector as a percentage of GDP in Nigeria is only 0.33 percent. This shows sluggish improvement in the sector, as the domestic mining industry is underdeveloped, leading Nigeria to import some of the mineral commodities that it could produce within the country.

In the North-western part of Nigeria, there are abundant mineral resources such as Butyles, Kaolin, Marble and Salt, Gassiterite, Copper, Gemstone, Tantalite, Glass-Sand, Lead/Zinc, Pyrochinre, Tourmaline, Tentalime, Topaz, Graphite, Flosper, Asbestos, Amethyst, Kyanite, Aqua Marine, Superntinite, Mica, Rock Crystal, Sihnite, Sapphire, Ruby, Coal, Gypsum, Laterite, Limestone, Phosphate, Flakes, Clay, Potash, and Gold.

But most of such resources are left unexploited and negligence occurs throughout the mining sector where the government and individuals are more concerned about revenue from the oil and gas sector. In a country like Zambia, Mining accounts for 12% of the country´s GDP and more than 70% of total export value. The sector is also a significant source of government revenue and formal employment, both directly and indirectly due to the massive investment made by the Zambian government and private sector.

Looking at the North-eastern region of the country also, there are precious natural resources such as Magnesite, Kaolin, Gypsum, Bentonite, Wolfram, Limestone, Coal, Lignite, Iron-ore, Cassiterite, Gold, Clay, Diatomite, Lead/Zinc, Soda Ash, etc. Sadly, with all these natural resources the Nigerian government has not put more emphasis on mining activities. Many Nigerians are living below the poverty line as they unknowingly sleep on the untapped mineral resources.

The mining sector has been experiencing an ongoing resurgence despite the negligence of the past decades, but still, Nigeria has so far not secured the growing benefits from these resources despite their potentials as a major source of government revenue. In South Africa the mining sector contributes 7.3 % to GDP, it attracts valuable foreign direct Investment and huge revenue to the government, almost a half million people are earning income from the sector due to the efforts made by the South African government in mining activities.

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