Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan urged stakeholders in the mining sector to identify barriers that were inhibiting the growth of the mining sector.
He said mining had the potential of steering economic growth and thus hurdles impacting on their growth was denying the country revenue and affecting employment creation.
“The Minerals and Metals Sector is an integral part of the development template which I presented to the Nation at the outset of this Administration.
We have articulated and continued to implement policies, programmes and projects required to strengthen the institutions of governance and in so doing, create jobs, wealth and also increase domestic and foreign direct investment in the economy,” he told stakeholders during a workshop.
“I therefore charge you to identify the barriers to the development of the sector, including environmental, social and regulatory challenges, and the policies government must develop and implement to address them.
I further charge you to focus attention on the beneficial exploration and exploitation of industrial minerals such as limestone, kaolin, silica, gypsum, gemstones, dimension stone, and ceramic clay since the development of the value chains is critical to any large-scale job creation efforts.”
He said Nigeria had more than 40 varieties of minerals in more than 500 locations.
Of these, seven are recognized as strategic minerals owing to their high economic potential.
Jonathan said the fact that the minerals were spread across the country was a blessing as every part of the country could prosper from them.
He said although considerable progress had been made in developing the minerals, the country had not reached its full potential.
“There has been much interest in the sector but we are not yet at the point where significant domestic or foreign investment is flowing into the sector. This workshop is the next step in advancing this work, to grow the sector and achieve our cherished goal of economic diversification.”
The mining of minerals in Nigeria accounts for only 0,3 percent of Gross Domestic Product.
The domestic mining industry is underdeveloped, leading to Nigeria having to import minerals that it could produce domestically, such as salt and iron ore.
– CAJ News