Solid Minerals Imports Hit 74% in 12 months – NBC
The National Bureau of Statistics recent report on Foreign Trade Statistics has revealed that the value of solid minerals imports rose by 74.39 per cent from N23.56bn in the first quarter of 2021 to N41.09bn in the same quarter in 2022.
According to the report, solid minerals are elements found on the earth, and they include naturally organic substances that are solid like precious stones and kaolin.
The report read in part, “The value of solid minerals imports in the first quarter of 2022 stood at N41.09bn, this value was 37.84 per cent higher than the value recorded in Q4, 2021 (N29.81bn) and 74.39 per cent of the value recorded in Q1, 2021 (N23.56bn)”.
Solid mineral imports were dominated by plasters of calcined gypsum or calcium sulphate imported from Turkey worth N6.87bn and China valued at N1.87bn.
Other products imported under this category were salt for human consumption from Namibia (N5.87bn) and Tunisia (N1.14bn), and Gypsum anhydrite (N5.72bn) from Spain.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, recently described Nigeria as a blessed with 44 different types of minerals in commercial quantity in over 500 locations in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Some of the minerals include baryte, kaolin, gypsum, feldspar, limestone, coal, bitumen, lignite, uranium, gold, cassiterite, columbite, iron ore, lead-zinc, copper, granite, laterite, sapphire, tourmaline, emerald, topaz, amethyst, and garnet.
However, the minister also said that Nigeria and other African countries were suffering from the under-utilization of mineral resources despite huge deposits.
Adegbite, who was represented by the Director-General, Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office, Obadiah Nkom, spoke at the first International Conference and Exhibitions of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists in Abuja.
The minister said, “Undeniably, Nigeria’s Minerals sector offers robust economic potential for diversification of the nation’s economy yet the country and indeed, many other African Countries have continued to suffer under utilization of their mineral resources.
“This has accounted for the slow phase of socio-economic development in Nigeria and many African countries. Our country is known to operate a mono economy where oil accounts for almost 90 per cent of the foreign exchange earnings.”
He also noted that insufficient geoscientific data and geological knowledge, weak implementation and enforcement of mining laws and regulations were critical constraints to the mining sector’s development.
He said the existing gaps propelled the ministry to immediately begin the process of preparing a detailed sector road map aimed at advancing certain strategic objectives.
Adegbite further stressed the role of the private sector as owners and operators of commercial mining entities and businesses.
He called on geoscientists and stakeholders to support government’s policies and efforts in diversifying the nation’s economy, using the mineral sector as one of the key drivers.
Additionally, Alabo Charles, the President, Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, says the Federal Government had identified mining and agriculture as viable options in its effort to diversify the nation’s economy from dependence on oil and gas.