Before the discovery of oil in Oloibiri, in 1956, the solid minerals sector was one of Nigeria’s economic cores. But attention gradually shifted to oil in successive administrations.
With a growing population of jobless youths, the need for economic diversification for national prosperity has become inevitable. This gave birth to Economic Recovery Goal Plan initiative with the solid minerals sector among others becoming a key sector to help grow the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in line with the ERGP plan. The mining sector, which endured at0.3% in 2015 aims to contribute up to 7% to the GDP by the year 2025.
Minister of State Mines and Steel Development, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari who recently embarked on a trip to the Mines and Money Conference in London seems to be working in hand with the present government’s plan to preposition the mining sector for maximum economic impact and benefit in line with the Economic Recovery Goal Project (ERGP) initiative of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
At the conference in London, the opportunity for the minister to correct a perception about Nigeria presented itself. Hon. Bwari did not take this opportunity lightly and sought to change the opinion that Nigeria was more than an oil nation.
The London Stock Exchange Business Round table Breakfast Meeting with topic ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil’, assembled top world business leaders.It was also the very first time a Nigerian minister of Mines and Steel Development or Solid Minerals will be hosted by the revered group.
Armed with the understanding of the current trend and dynamics in the solid minerals sector,he shared with the distinguished business leaders that strategic minerals of the future like Nickel, Cobalt, Lithium, Graphite, Copper and Rare Earth Elements hidden beneath Africa and Nigeria’s lands should be unearthed,exploited and brought to the market through a concise mineral policy that promotes transparency and sustainable mining.