Ayoola Olukanni, the Director-General, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, has called for full implementation of the roadmap on mining and steel development.
He said that implementation of the roadmap would guarantee sustainable mining goals and diversification of the economy.
Olukanni who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos, explained that implementation of the roadmap would also rank Nigeria among mining nations.
He said the roadmap if faithfully implemented, would lead to the full exploitation of minerals in the sector and contribute not less than three per cent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product by 2030.
Olukanni said: “The mining sector used to contribute not less than four per cent to the GDP of the economy until we struck oil and then was abandoned.
“The Indigenisation Decree of 1972 also forced a lot of foreigners to sell their shares and unfortunately, most Nigerians could not fill the gap as mining is capital and technology intensive.
“In the past, efforts were made as the sector received some funding to revive it under what is called the `Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project.”
According to him, seven key minerals (Iron ore, Coal, Bitumen, Limestone, Lead/Zinc, Gold, Barite) toward achieving the goals have already been identified by the roadmap.
He explained that if the sector was fully exploited, it would be able to contribute even more than the initial three per cent, adding that Nigeria had diverse solid mineral assets scattered across the country.
Olukanni also stressed the need to add value to solid minerals before exporting them to other countries.
He said: “We do not support exports without added valued of mineral like Iron Ore just like that.
“The materials can go through a beneficiating process which turns it into precious metals which has more value.
“This is the same thing we did to limestone by converting it to cement, we used to be a major importer of cement, but now a major exporter.”
The director-general, however, noted that to become a mining nation, the right laws and regulations must be in place and constantly reviewed to encourage investors.
He said that before the Mining Act of 2007, it was shocking to discover that some of the mining laws by which we operated as a nation dated back to 1892.
On the abundance of minerals, Olukanni disclosed that a rare type of Nickel deposits was recently discovered in Dangoma area of Kaduna State.
He said: “Its interesting that more mineral deposits are being found but regrettably the ones we already have are not being fully exploited.”
NAN reports that the Nigeria Mining Roadmap is set out to reform the mining sector into a sustainable, globally competitive sector in the extractive and related processing industries.
It is expected to occur in three phases between 2016 and 2030.
Phase 1 will run from 2016 to 2018, and aims to stabilise the mining sector and rebuild market confidence.
Phase 2 will run from 2018 to 2020, with the aim to establish Nigeria as a competitive African mining and mineral processing centre.
Also, it is expected that Phase 3 will run from 2020 to 2030 and will see Nigeria compete selectively in the global market for refined metals and minerals for exports.
NAN learnt that a Mining Implementation and Strategy Team have also been recommended to act as the central coordinating team for the roadmap.
This would ensure continuity, sustainability and prevent neglect of the programme by subsequent administration.
The sector presently contributes between 0.3 and 0.11 per cent to the GDP of the economy.