The mining of minerals in Nigeria accounts for only 0.3% of its GDP, due to the influence of its vast oil resources. The domestic mining industry is underdeveloped, leading to Nigeria having to import minerals that it could produce domestically, such as salt or iron ore. Rights to ownership of mineral resources is held by the Federal government of Nigeria, which grants titles to organizations to explore, mine, and sell mineral resources. Organized mining began in 1903 when the Mineral Survey of the Northern Protectorates was created by the British colonial government. A year later, the Mineral Survey of the Southern Protectorates was founded. By the 1940s, Nigeria was a major producer of tin, columbite, and coal. The discovery of oil in 1956 hurt the mineral extraction industries, as government and industry both began to focus on this new resource. The Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s led many expatriate mining experts to leave the country. Mining regulation is handled by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, which oversees the management of all mineral resources. Mining law is codified in the Federal Minerals and Mining Act of 1999. Historically, Nigeria’s mining industry was monopolized by state-owned public corporations. This led to a decline in productivity in almost all mineral industries. The Obasanjo administration began a process of selling off government-owned corporations to private investors in 1999.

COAL

The Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) is a parastatal corporation that was formed in 1950 and held a monopoly on the mining, processing, and sales of coal, lignite, and coke products until 1999.

Coal was first discovered in Enugu in 1909 at the Udi Ridge in Enugu,This was found by a British mine Engineer known as Albert Kitson.Coal geology is a mixture of sedimentary rock and ancient vegetation which have been changed due to heat and microbial activities over considerable period of time. The Ogbete Mine had opened and begun regularly extracting coal by 1916. By 1920, coal production had reached 180,122 long tons (183,012 t). Nigeria coal was established in 1950, and by 1960 production was at 565,681 long tons (574,758 t). The Nigerian Civil War caused many mines to be abandoned. After the war ended in the early 1970s, coal production was never able to recover. Attempts to mechanize the industry in the 1970s and 1980s were ultimately unsuccessful, and actually hindered production due to problems with implementation and maintenance. The main purpose for the use of coal in Nigeria is for the operation of railway system. Coal was converted to diesel after Nigeria civil war and the coal mining industry was abandoned.

The Nigerian government is currently trying to privatize the Nigerian Coal Corporation and sell off its assets. While the domestic market for coal has been negatively affected by the move to diesel and gas-powered engines by organizations that were previously major coal consumers, the low-sulfur coal mined in Nigeria is desirable by international customers in Italy and the United Kingdom, who have imported Nigerian coal. Recent financial problems have caused a near shutdown of the NCC’s coal mining operations, and the corporation has responded by attempting to sell off some of its assets while it waits for the government to complete privatization activities.

In April 2008, Minister of Mines and Steel announced that Nigeria was considering coal as an alternative power source as it attempts to reform its power sector, and encouraged Chinese investors to invest in the coal industry.

Nigeria still holds large coal reserves, estimated to be at least 2 billion metric tons. The discovery of bituminous coal suitable for use in coke production for the iron and steel industries opens up potential new domestic markets. With the loss of its largest domestic consumers, the NCC began exporting coal to Italy and the United Kingdom, as its low sulphur content is desirable.

In 1999, the NCC lost its monopoly over the Nigerian coal industry as the Obasanjo government allowed private companies to begin operating coal fields in joint ventures with the NCC, with an eventual goal of completely selling off the NCC’s assets to private investors. The Nigerian government planned to sell 40% to private investors and 20% to the Nigerian public, while retaining 40%.

In 2002, work stopped at NCC-operated mines. In 2003, the Nigerian government announced plans to create a technical advisory committee that would be tasked with reviving Nigeria’s coal industry.

By 2004, the technical committee had still not issued their report, and the NCC found itself almost bankrupt. To raise funds, it began to sell off some of its assets in an attempt to pay off its mounting debt, including salary that was owed to its employees.Additionally, the Enugu State Government protested the planned NCC privatisation and demanded the ability to consult with the Federal Government on any planned sale.

While references are made in the news media to a possible sale of the NCC, the Nigerian Bureau of Public Enterprises, the government body tasked with selling public corporations, still lists the NCC as an asset for sale on their website as of April 2008,and no news reports to date provide any information about the supposed sale.

The Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office manages all the Nigerian mining licenses and mining rights. They are a subsidiary of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Gold

Gold deposits are found in Northern Nigeria, most prominently near Maru, Anka, Malele, Tsohon Birnin Gwari-Kwaga, Gurmana, Bin Yauri, Okolom-Dogondaji, and Iperindo in Osun state it is not very dominant in the country.

Gold production began in 1913 and peaked in the 1930s. During the Second World War, production declined. Mines were abandoned by colonial companies, and production never recovered.

The Nigerian Mining Corporation (NMC) was formed in the early 1980s to explore for golds. Lack of fund, and the lure of easier profits from oil production led to its failure. There is no large scale gold mining operation in Nigeria today, though there is small-scale mining carried out by artists. The family of Aleye from Anka is one of the leading gold families in the region.

Gold Mining Sector Nurturing Growth

The mining of minerals in Nigeria accounts for only 0.3% of its GDP, due to the influence of its vast oil resources.

The domestic mining industry is underdeveloped, leading to Nigeria having to import minerals that it could produce domestically, such as salt or iron ore.

Rights to ownership of mineral resources is held by the Federal government of Nigeria, which grants titles to organizations to explore, mine, and sell mineral resources.

Gold deposits are found in Northern Nigeria, most prominently near Maru, Anka, Malele, Tsohon Birnin Gwari-Kwaga, Gurmana, Bin Yauri, Okolom-Dogondaji, and Iperindo in Osun state it is not very dominant in the country.

Gold production began in 1913 and peaked in the 1930s. During the Second World War, production declined. Mines were abandoned by colonial companies, and production never recovered.

The Nigerian Mining Corporation (NMC) was formed in the early 1980s to explore for golds.

Lack of funds, and the lure of easier profits from oil production led to its failure.

There is no large scale gold mining operation in Nigeria today, though there is small-scale mining.

Columbite, wolframite, and tantalite

Columbite and tantalite are ores used to produce the elements niobium and tantalum. Columbite and tantalite are collectively known as coltan in Africa. Tantalum is a valuable rare element used in electronics manufacturing. In Nigeria, pegmatite deposits of coltan are frequently also the source of several precious and semi-precious stones such as beryl, aquamarine, and tourmaline. These pegmatites are found in Nassarawa State near the Jos Plateau, as well as in several areas in southeast Nigeria. There is small-scale mining of these minerals. Wolframite (tungsten) can be found in the North states.

Columbite is a black, crystalline mineral group and the main ore of niobium which is also called columbate, niobite and niobite-tantalite [(Fe, Mn)Nb2O6], it is also a niobate of iron and manganese.

Columbite is found in granite, pegmatites, and placer deposits together with tantalite, but have a less density.

Columbite has the same mineral structure as tantalite, their chemical characteristics of are similar which is why they are mostly grouped as a semi-singular mineral otherwise known as coltan or “columbite-tantalite”.

But irrespective of their similarities, they have a slight difference in terms of colour, transparency, streak and specific gravity.

In Nigeria, West Africa, we have various exploration and mining companies that specialises in Columbite, niobium and tantalite mining, such as Saltire Mineral Resources (Nigeria) Limited, including also buyers and exporters.

And if the government is fully involved in this mining sector, it will once again boost the country’s economy and will make Nigeria once again the largest producer of Columbite in Africa and among the top leading producers in the world.

Bitumen

Bitumen was first discovered in 1900, with focused exploration beginning in 1905. Bitumen deposits are found in Lagos State, Ogun State, Ondo State, and Edo State. Conoco has performed a technical and economic evaluation of these deposits, and believes there to be over thirteen billion barrels of oil in these tar sands and bitumen seepages.

Bitumen also referred to as Asphalt is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It may be found in natural deposits or may be a refined product; it is a substance classed as a pitch. In Nigeria, bitumen typically occurs both on the surface and sub-surface. The estimated probable reserves of bitumen in Ondo State (Southwest region of Nigeria) is 16 billion barrels, while that of tar sands and heavy oil is estimated at 42 billion barrels, almost as twice the amount of existing reserves of crude petroleum.

Nigeria has the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, spanning approximately 120km. The primary use (70%) of asphalt/bitumen is in road construction, where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete. Its other main uses are for bituminous waterproofing products, including production of roofing felt and for sealing flat roofs.

When fully developed, the industry will no doubt meet not only local requirements of the substance for road construction, but also become a foreign exchange earner for the country (Nigeria). Currently, the bitumen used in Nigeria is processed from imported heavy crudes, in addition to bitumen imported to supplement local consumption. Heavy and extra heavy crude can be extracted from Nigerian tar sands, and sulphur and phenol can be derived from these crude grades.

Though Nigeria has one of the largest deposits of bitumen in the world, stakeholders have expressed concern over government’s inability to properly harness the resources for the country’s economic benefit.

Report by Global Market Insights Inc. had indicated that the market size for the resources would exceed $110 billion by 2024, especially with stimulated efforts witnessed in increasing government initiatives towards repairs and redevelopment of roads across the world.

Chairman of Council at the Institute of Oil and Gas Research and Hydrocarbon Studies, Prof. Akin Akindoyeni, said continuous import of bituminous materials into the country would continue to put pressure on foreign exchange if government refuses to address the challenges affecting the exploitation of the resources.

Bitumen, a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as residue from petroleum distillation, is basically used for road surfacing, roofing, adhesives, Insulation and others.

But countries like the U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, France, Spain, Italy, China, India, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa dominated the market.

While the ministry admitted that the bitumen used in Nigeria is processed from imported heavy crudes, in addition to bitumen imported to supplement local consumption, noting that heavy and extra heavy crude could be extracted from Nigerian tar sands and sulphur, Akindoyeni said government abandoned the sector due to oil discovery.

“Even if the product is for domestic consumption in the maintenance of our highways, it should give us an opportunity to this right for a change,” he said.

Iron ore

Nigeria has several deposits of iron ore, but the purest deposits are in and around Itakpe in Kogi State.

The National Iron Ore Mining Company was founded in 1979 and given the mission to explore, exploit, process, and supply iron ore concentrate to the Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCL) in Ajaokuta and Delta Steel Company (DCL) in Aladja. Additional demand has come from several steel rolling mills. The company and its mining operations are based in Kogi State. Export of excess iron ore beyond what is required for domestic needs is currently being explored. Additionally, the Nigerian government has invested in foreign iron ore operations in Guinea.

‘Nigeria’s iron ore can generate $60 billion yearly’

The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), and stakeholders in the mining industry have sought increased investments in Nigeria’s mining sector.

Indeed, the stakeholders lamented that despite the huge potential of the sector, it is yet to be given the attention it deserves to change the narrative of the Nigerian economy, adding that the volume of iron ore alone can generate over $60 billion on yearly basis if well managed.

The stakeholders emphasised the need for policy implementation to encourage investors interested in the sector.

The President, Miners Association of Nigeria, Shehu Sanni, said for the sector to grow, there is the need for a conscious and deliberate action that is strategic and timeline based for the development of the sector, saying that the N30 billion interventions by the present administration to salvage the sector is inadequate.

“What the sector needs is not N30 billion, but sustainable funding for a very long time. For instance a declaration can be made to say five per cent of the national budget should be set aside for the development of the solid mineral sector for the next 20 years and implement it properly. This is the kind of investment that would bring life into the sector,” he said.

The National President, NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, at a one-day forum on the potential of the Nigerian mining sector, explained that it is one thing for a nation to be endowed with vast mineral deposits, but another to be a mining nation.

She pointed out that across the world, financing mining is a difficult task, stressing that in Africa it is even more difficult due to the fact that unlike crude oil, mining is a long haul and comes with a lot of risks for investors.

She highlighted some of the challenges hindering the sector to include political instability, absence of appropriate mining policy and environmental laws and regulations, lack of human resources and the expertise to handle mining administration.

“These issues which have been agitating the minds of prospective local investors in the private sector in the wake of the new attention in the mining sector, are the rights of states to minerals in their jurisdiction and issues of royalty. Also, establishment of specialised mining financing companies, support for financing institutions, environmental issues, social issues and corporate social responsibility,” she added.

She expressed NACCIMA’s total commitment to the full harnessing of the potentials of the mining sector and its entire value chain.

Uranium

The Nigeria Uranium Mining Company (NUMCO) was a parastatal organization that controlled the exploration and mining of uranium in Nigeria and was a public/private partnership with Total Compagnie Minière of France, which owned 40% of the company. In 1989, Total pulled out of the partnership, and in 1993 the government reassigned NUMCO’s responsibilities to the Nigerian Geological Survey. The NUMCO corporation was dissolved in 1996,The mechanization of the coal corporation was not successful, this was because the military Government officials employ people they know such like friends and relations. This was the pattern coal corporation was managed. There was also a plan of the Federal government to privatize the coal corporation but it also failed.

The government is in the process of liquidating its remaining assets. Recently, several important uranium deposits were discovered in Cross River State, Adamawa State, Taraba State, Plateau State, Bauchi State, and Kano State by the British Geological Survey.

Uranium development in Nigeria

Nigeria uranium exploration started in 1973. Uranium was found in seven states of the country; Cross River, Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Bauchi, Kogi and Kano. Three government agencies were involved. At the end of the various exploration campaigns in 2001, the uranium reserve was estimated at about 200 t U. The Grade ranges from 0.63% – 0-9% at a vertical depth between 130 – 200 m. Currently, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission activated in 2006 is charged with the responsibility among others to prospect for and mine radioactive minerals. The main aim of this poster presentation is to review the development of uranium in Nigeria with a view to encourage local and international investors to develop and exploit these deposits. Nigeria is located on latitude 100 N and longitude 80 E surrounded in the north by Niger and Chad, in the east by Cameroun and in the west by the Benin Republic. Available data indicated the viability of mineral investment in the Nigerian uranium resources. With the current economic reforms and investment incentives in Nigeria, interested investors are highly welcome to take advantage of developing these mineral resources.

Benefits of Nigeria’s uranium resources

A vital aspect of the change needed to move Nigeria forward is the diversification of its resources. Far too much attention has been paid to oil while many more resources remain untapped; uranium is one of them. Nigeria is endowed with strategic reserves of the mineral which can boost the contributions of the solid minerals subsector to the economy.  Occurrences of uranium have been discovered in North-eastern states of Bauchi, Adamawa and Taraba; as well as in Plateau, Kano and Cross River States.

Uranium accounts for an estimated 12 per cent of the electricity generated from nuclear reactors globally. Uranium is a far cheaper, environmentally friendly and more efficient source of electricity than fossil fuels. Countries like Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Japan, South Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine source at least 30 per cent of their electricity requirements from nuclear reactors. The USA operates 100 reactors that supply a fifth of its electricity, while France gets 75 per cent of its electricity from uranium. In Africa, Niger, Namibia and South Africa account for 18 per cent of world annual production of the mineral. Uranium is only traded amongst countries that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which mandates international inspection to ensure that it is only utilised for peaceful purposes.

There is a lot of hue and cry over recent government mention of the need to include uranium in the nation’s energy mix. The anxieties have been premised on safety considerations but it is important to note that uranium exploration is not new to Nigeria.  Nigerian uranium development programme began in 1976 but started collapsing by 1989 when Total pulled out of its 40 per cent part-ownership of the Nigerian Uranium Mining Company. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had gathered some substructure to reignite that pursuit on his return as a democratically elected President but he left office before an actual takeoff. The roadmap he designed had anticipated that Nigeria would generate 1000 megawatts of electricity from Uranium by 2017. It remains an idea that can generate employment, provide services and augment the nation’s ailing economy. In the area of safety, as required by international standards, Nigeria already has in place a Nuclear Regulatory Agency headed by a world-renowned nuclear Physicist, Professor Lawrence Anikwe Dim. The effort to put to use the nation’s nuclear endowments is therefore not out of place as it will create jobs for specialised professionals and could even create room for those of them who are stuck abroad because there are no opportunities in their field to come home and build our nuclear resources.

Understandably, we dread the mention of nuclear reactor, irradiation and its other isotopes because of nuclear accidents that have occurred in some countries in the past and the dangerous consequences of its misapplications. It is arguably one of man’s most dangerous discoveries yet. However, unknown to most of us, we benefit each day from what we believe to be inherently deadly as radiation has found application in numerous fields including  water detection, medicine, agriculture, food technology, materials processing, nuclear energy and even environmental protection. Yes, science and technology has enabled us to outflank the sour side of nuclear radiation and advance its peaceful uses. We need not remain skeptical; we need to join the rest of the world in the march to utilise nuclear resources for sustainable development.

Next to energy on the list of global priorities is food security particularly for underdeveloped countries where it is important that what little food is available should last as long as possible. This is also another area where nuclear technology has come to the rescue of modern society. It is useful in agriculture for soil fertility mapping and production of gamma rays with which to irradiate foods and extend their shelf life. Irradiation technology has been approved in about 40 countries for over 60 types of foods. The Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission, NAEC has installed a Gamma Irradiation Facility at the Nuclear Technological Centre, Sheda Abuja as a multipurpose industrial plant to serve small scale and medium enterprises.

Auspiciously,   NAEC signed a MoU with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria  to promote the use of nuclear technology in food preservation in 2009. Through the facility at Sheda, food spices can be irradiated to destroy the harmful microbes in them; onions and seeds are also treated to prevent sprouting and can delay the ripening of mangoes, tomatoes, pawpaw for up to two weeks while keeping produce like beans, yam, potatoes, well through the year without spoilage. It is therefore invaluable in solving the economic problem of post-harvest losses and keeps foods well for export. The imported mangoes, apples, etc. we eat are kept fresh through radiation technology.

In Nigeria, where electricity poverty has been the bane of industry for decades, our current quest for nuclear energy is long overdue. These developments should be of interest to today’s discerning entrepreneur who must seek, embrace and utilise the proceeds of R&D to create new wealth. The private sector must now take more than a cursory interest in the utilisation of the nation’s nuclear resources. It is no longer enough to engage in primary production. Contemporary entrepreneurship must deploy the tools of science and technology to stay competitive and earn more through value addition to natural resources.

Nigeria: Investment opportunities in iron ore mining (NEWS)

Vice  President Yemi Osinbajo, declaration last year, on Nigeria having the 12th largest iron ore deposit in the world and the second largest in Africa, with about 70 per cent of Nigeria’s deposits yet to be proven has raised quite some concern within the business community.

Osinbajo, had raised hopes when he said the Federal Government was looking at options for solving the challenge of developing the sector, including mobilising government capacity and private sector competencies to certify existing deposits.

“Because steel is the world most important engineering material, Buhari’s presidency is determined to bring about a faster industrialisation process in the country through the active development of the sector,” he said.

With about 2 billion metric tonnes of iron ore reserves, Osinbajo said Nigeria must be extremely ambitious in its industrialisation efforts, adding that never in its history has the need to increase investment in Nigeria been more crucial than now.

He said steel plays an important role in the present administration’s economic agenda, adding that as part of efforts to make the country a net exporter of steel, President Muhammadu Buhari, had directed that everything be done to ensure that Nigeria progressed in the Ease of Doing Business ranking this year.

He disclosed that the Federal Government was working on the right macro-economic policies to attract investors.

Foreigners feast on Nigeria’s iron ore

The announcement in 2012, by Australian explorer, Dr. Ian Burston, Chairman of Energio of the discovery of huge Iron Ore deposits in Kogi State, should be an eye opener to Nigeria and investors considering the options of starching funds abroad or wanting to import products from other economies to look inwards

According to the company, the discovery of 488 million tons in its 100 percent-owned Igbaja Project, represents 9.2 percent of the company’s 151km2 landholding for Iron.

In a statement by Energio, the discovery was the first ever JORC Iron Ore resources discovery in Nigeria and is bound to change the pace of iron ore development in mineral rich West African country.Indeed, the Austrialian Stock Exchange -listed firm informed the Australian Securities that the resources update on the Agbaja project, would be released.

Energio further explained that with improved geological confidence the entire resources potentials of the project would have been classified by June 2013.

Expert speaks on state of industry

An expert in mineral resources exploration and development, Mr. Jerry Solomon, equally expressed optimism that iron ore mining will industrialise the economy.

But, to move the sector forward, he urged the government and investors to consider massive exploration and exploitation of the abundant iron mineral in the country.

“Iron ores of diverse origin and quality are found in Nigeria with the purest and largest reserve found in Itakpe, Kogi State, where proven Iron Ore reserves are in excess of 200 million tons, grading in ferrous (Fe) content from 25 – 50 percent and could be up to 70 percent.

The true reserve of the deposit is yet to be quantified. In addition to Itakpe deposit, large reserves of sedimentary iron ore are exposed at Agbaja area in Kogi State, holding excess of 30.5 million tons of iron with an average assays of 50 per cent Fe (high of 85 per cent Fe) and economic percentage of phosphorous and alumina that can be processed as by-products.

It is very sad that previous administrations in Nigeria chose to spend well over N1.0 trillion annually on iron importations and ignored the huge economic gains that associate with iron mining and processing locally,’’.

Solomon who is a principal ge-ologist at Orbitwaves Geosciences, based in Toronto, Canada, said iron ore mining alone could massive-ly provide infrastructural develop-ment in the country and generates huge revenue and adds value to the economy if properly operated.

President of Miners’ Empowerment Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sunny Ekosin, disclosed that Nigeria loses a whopping N8 trillion annually in unexploited gold alone. He also said that Ajaokuta remains the key to Nigeria’s industrialisation and that getting it back to work is a matter of patriotism for President Muhammadu Buhari and his team.

Dissecting Iron Ore

There are over 3 billion tones of iron ore found in kogi, Enugu, Niger, Zamfara and Kaduna States. Iron is currently being mined at Itakpe (Kogi State), which is more or less at the center of the region of crystalline iron deposits.

The large deposit of oolitic iron ores of Kogi and Enugu States are yet to be fully explored. Itakpe iron ore is being beneficiated to 67 percent Fe to feed Aladja and Ajaokuta Steel complexes.

Besides there are three in-land rolling mills at Oshogbo, Jos and Katsina in addition to some privately owned rolling mills in Lagos and Kano.

Iron (Fe) is one of the most abundant rock-forming elements, constituting about 5 percent of the Earth’s crust. It is the fourth most abundant element after oxygen, silicon and aluminium and, after aluminium, the most abundant and widely distributed metal.

Iron ores are rocks from which metallic iron can be economically extracted. These rocks are usually found in the form of hematite (Fe2O3) or magnetite (Fe3O4). About 98 percent of world iron ore production is used to make iron in the form of steel. Although iron in cast form has many specific uses; ( pipes, fittings, and engine blocks. Its main use is to make steel.

Steel is the most useful metal known being used 20 times more than all other metals put together. Steel is strong, durable and extremely versatile. The many different kinds of steel consist almost entirely of iron with the addition of small amounts of carbon (usually less than 1 percent) and of other metals to form different alloys; stainless steel.

Pure iron is quite soft, but adding a small amount of carbon makes it significantly harder and stronger. Most of the additional elements in steel are added deliberately in the steel making process; chromium, manganese, nickel, molybdenum. By changing the proportions of these additional elements, it is possible to make steel suitable for a great variety of uses. There are over 3billion tones of iron ore found in Kogi, Enugu, Niger, Zamfara, and Kaduna States.Approval/Regulation for iron ore mining

The recognized regulator for all mining activities in the country is the Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office, an agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Solid Minerals.

Information relating to approval procedure, classes of mining, levies and fess and all forms of documentation required could be gotten on the Cadastre office website; www.miningcadastre.gov.ng

NEITI audit report shows neglect. According to the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mr. Kayode Fayemi, 619 entities made payments to the government in 2013 but the 2013 solid minerals audit reconciled payments by only 65 entities (63 companies and two buying centres) that made payments of N2 million and above. These 65 entities (10.5 per cent of 619) accounted for 90.49 per cent of the total payments for 2013 and six government agencies were covered by the audit.

Total production across the solid minerals sector increased to 46,280,996 tonnes in 2013 as against 37,808,063 tonnes in 2012. The 19 per cent increase was attributed to a 33 per cent rise in limestone production from 18 million tonnes in 2012 to 24 million tonnes in 2013. Also, solid minerals sector accounted for an average of 0.09 per cent of total export earnings for 2013 compared to 0.02 per cent for 2012, with lead ores accounting for over 50 per cent of the value of all solid minerals sector exports for 2013. Low revenue flows to government

The NEITI report espoused further that a meagre N33.86 billion accrued to the Federation Account from solid minerals sector in 2013. Out of this, payments from cement manufacturing companies accounted for N30.47 billion (89.98 per cent); construction companies, N1.98 billion (5.83 per cent); mining and quarrying companies, N1.42 billion (4.19 per cent).

 

Nigeria Losing Huge Revenue From Illegal Mining   (NEWS)

Activities of illegal miners as well as ineffective implementation of policies in the solid minerals sector may be costing the country huge revenue and slow-paced development. While the officials did not disclose the estimated loss in the industry due to its current state, counterpart West Africa states lost $2billion in 2017. Experts said increased illegal mining and unhindered encroachment by Artisanal and Small scale Miners (ASM) are the biggest challenges facing the sector. They noted that there is still a long way to go due to the cost of mining, artisanal mining that foster black market gold, inefficient government regulations and policies. Speaking during the Gold West Africa Conference with theme: “The future of African Gold- Developing the West African Gold Economy”, organised by Kian Smith Gold Refinery and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, the experts noted that harmonisation of regulations, implementation of stability measures, tax free carry, and license duration would boost the sector. Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Abdulkadir Muazu, said Nigeria has a lot of dormant gold site, but with good policies and regulations can broaden the nation’s revenue base. In Nigeria, gold production started in 1913, was at its peak in 1933/1934 and declined during 2nd World War period, from which it never recovered. Indeed, over 20 old mines have been abandoned since the 1940s, which leaves gold mining an artisanal activity. He mentioned that collaborations with private sector would address this challenge and help convert the small miners into some viable enterprise. Lauding efforts of Kian Smith, he noted such collaborations would promote and partner the likes of Khan Smith Initiative to unlock and develop potentials in the gold value chain. “We then move from exploitation to value addition then finance. This action in the value chain will drive maximum benefit potentially available in core mining sector. “Gold mining is a high risk sector. It has long maturation and dominated by informal men but has the potential to take people out of poverty and create more employment. In doing this, we need to ensure that we protect our environment and the small miners or labourers to prevent exploitation at the expense of their health or that of their children,” he added. On the need for the conference, Vice Chairman, Kian Smith Gold Refinery, Nere Teriba, said the inaugural meeting would reposition stakeholders in the region at this critical time. She noted that despite the decline in world gold mine production, West Africa’s gold production has been increasing. “For the region to truly benefit from this lucrative resource, it will be imperative that a vision and action plan is mapped out that ensures empowerment and sustainability, while creating an enabling environment for West Africa gold producing and trading countries to become stakeholders in global gold market,” she added. Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ibrahim Garba said West Africa is an emerging gold exploration investment hotspot due to its huge source of gold, iron ore, bauxite, diamonds, phosphate and uranium. Director of Operations, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dauda Yakuba, stressed that the critical sector of the gold value chain is the refinery; until it plays her role, there would be no monetary gain. Yakubu said the regulatory body have adopted, trained and certified companies to meet up with international standard. “There is need to harmonise standards that would facilitate community traded goods for conformity assessment. We have a lot of work to do especially on the value chain. We need technology boost quality and quantity; also strengthen the value chain by training the ASM, with proactive government for policies enforcement,” he added.