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Roadmap for mineral diversification needed

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By Timothy Akintola

Project is to enhance development and diversification of industrial minerals.

The Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project (MinDiver) in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, is known to be World Bank-assisted, has just urged Nigeria to device a roadmap to enhance the development and diversification of its industrial minerals. It was noted that the administration was working to structure a blueprint on the need for developing the mining industry, identifying strategic measures needed to guide the swift development of prioritized industrial minerals. With the country immensely rich in mineral resources, reports from MinDiver noted that the oil and gas entrepreneurs were responsible for about 18.9 percent of the total oil production, further indicating that the steel industry was also being revitalized.

According to the MinDiver’s report, this activity was indicated as an important component of the project conceived for facilitating an implemented programme to improve the upstream development of industrial minerals along with the additional value at the downstream level. Further reports indicated that the adopted strategy of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development aligned perfectly with Africa’s mining policy which was created by the union in 2009 to ensure the utilization of Africa’s resources for broad based, inclusive development. This scheme was seen as Africa’s response against curbing the paradox of rich mineral resources and pervasive poverty.

Nigeria’s building and construction industry witnessed significant growth.

MinDiver’s project coordinator, Dr. Sallim Salaam explained that the Nigeria’s building and construction industry had witnessed immense growth over the last two decades, noting that it was one of the highest expansion sectors in the country’s economy. He noted that the drive to diversify the economy by leveraging on the potentials of natural resources was a priority programme established in President Buhari’s economic reform. He explained that the African Union’s success was predicted on the proper facilitation of the endowed resources.

He explained that the indigenous production of industrial materials had also grown from about 43,725,070 tonnes in 2016 to 78, 454,628 tonnes in 2021. Regardless of the evident progress, however, Nigeria has still been recorded to have imported about 80 percent of its industrial minerals for indigenous industries. Dr. Sallim thus revealed that the federal government was working to develop the available industrial minerals in the country, in a bid to ensure industrial growth and substitute importation. He stated that one important goal of this roadmap was to establish and implement a strategy for promoting domestic supply of mineral resources for local industries. Minerals such as limestone, laterite, sand, clay, marble and granite were listed among the most relevant minerals used in the country.

UN’s population growth estimate in Nigeria to surge to 450m by 2050.

Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister for Mines and Steel Development also noted that the establishment of the new industrial roadmap would be useful in optimizing Nigeria’s industrial minerals to get to the standards of the manufacturing, industrial and construction industry, whilst also reducing the country’s dependence on importation. He noted that this development would not only favour local miners but also enhance the economic diversification agenda by the creation of jobs and wealth along the industry’s mineral value chain. This, he indicated, was in line with the goal of President Buhari to inculcate a more established and inclusive sustainable economy.

With the United Nations’ population estimate in Nigeria surging to about 450 million by 2050, the need for more housing, roads and jobs have also heightened. The cement industry in Nigeria has been viewed as overly sophisticated and due to this, it has become easier for factories to distribute this product across Africa. It was also indicated that the inculcation of skill development and poverty alleviation were benefits of implementing this roadmap which encompasses economic, environmental and social dimensions, in line with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

3 paths guiding the implementation of mineral resource roadmap revealed.

Data from the MinDiver project media department showed that there are three specific paths guiding the implementation of this roadmap for developing mineral resources, so as to achieve the objective of the federal government for the mining industry. These included the promotion of construction mineral provisions which are needed to meet the growing demand of the country’s construction industry, the promotion of industrial materials for the industrial sector and the maximization of renowned deposits of industry minerals by establishing conditions that will help them compete globally.

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