The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, has stated that the nation can rake in about N5tn yearly if the solid minerals sector is well explored.
Fayemi also said that the solid minerals sector had the potential to generate a lot of jobs.
The Minister made this known at the third Chief John Agboola Odeyemi Annual Lecture at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
He said it is because of the potential that the Federal Government is considering giving states the opportunity to exploit mineral resources in their respective domains despite being on the exclusive legislative list.
He said a reform programme was accordingly being scripted by the government.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Harnessing natural resources for national development’, Fayemi said the country was blessed with various natural endowments scattered across every state of the federation.
“Ironically, these natural endowments contribute less than one per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
Quoting the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, Fayemi said the nation could generate at least N5tn yearly from mining and exporting of the vast solid mineral deposits.
He stated, “Limestone deposits occur in Cross River, Ogun, Benue, Gombe, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Edo and Kogi states; magnesite in Adamawa and Kebbi states; coal in Enugu, Imo, Kogi, Delta, Plateau, Anambra, Abia, Benue, Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Adamawa and Kwara states; wolframite in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi and Niger states; silver is found in Kano, with kyanite in Kaduna and Niger states; manganese in the northern states of Kebbi, Katsina and Zamfara, with diatomite found in Yobe State, while ilmenite-rutile is found in Bauchi, Plateau and Kaduna states; fluorite is found in Taraba State, with gold in Niger, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara and Zamfara, Osun and Oyo states.
“Nassarawa State has been appropriately tagged as Nigeria’s home of solid minerals. The state is one of the most naturally endowed states in the country in terms of the availability of economically and commercially viable natural resources. These include clay, columbite, ilmenite, mica, barytes, pyrite, galena, limestone, sodium chloride, ephalerite, silica sand, granite, tantalite, talc, gemstone, topaz, cassiterite, quartz, cooking coal, marble and iron ore. Bauchi is another richly endowed state in the North with metal ores, non-metallic ores and gemstones.
“Other untapped mineral resources in Bauchi include kaolin, talc, tin, quartz, iron ore, gypsum, zircon, calcite, tantalite, chalcopyrite, mica, copper ore, limestone, tourmaline, beryl, garnet, columbite, muscovite, aquamarine, topaz, marcle, bismuth, wolframite and others.”
Fayemi, however, said that certain constraints were currently limiting the states from exploiting the mineral resources, a challenge which, he noted could be addressed through necessary reform programmes.