Nigeria Is embarking on a long- term development for it mining sector in order to boot investment.
This is in a bid to reduce over reliance on the oil sector which provides 70% of government revenues, but a slump in crude prices has pushed Nigeria into recession.
“We want this to be private sector driven so we have been in discussions with NSIA, the Nigerian sovereign investment authority and we are looking at a 500 million dollar fund from their side which will primarily focus on exploration. We are also in discussion with the Nigerian stock exchange to establish corporate mining bonds,” said Mining Minister, Kayode Fayemi.
Nigeria has largely untapped deposits of 44 minerals, which include gold, iron ore, coal, tin and zinc, in more than 500 locations spread across the nation.
The west African economy has been trying to attract foreign mining firms. Currently, the only significant foreign investor in the sector, where 80 percent of mining is carried out on an artisanal basis, is Australia’s Kogi Iron.
Nigeria also hopes to revive the moribund steel plant in Ajaokuta. In August, a deal was reached with Global Steel Holdings, an Indian firm, giving the government renewed control after four years of mediation and eight years of inactivity.
Fayemi said PricewaterhouseCoopers was conducting an audit which began on August 1 and would last 150 days, followed by a public bid process.The minister added companies from China, Ukraine, Russia and Belarus had expressed an interest in operating the plant.
Currently, mining accounts for just 0.3% of the country’s GDP but Nigeria hopes that the sector will contribute up to 10 % of the GDP over the next decade.