Nigeria Metal Development Center (NMDC) Director General Jos, Professor Linus Asuquo, has called on the federal government to discourage the export of Nigeria’s mineral resources as primary products, saying the practice results in the country getting very little income from their natural endowments.

Professor Asuquo urged the government to order investors in Nigeria’s mining sector to set up processing plants in Nigeria so they can export the minerals as finished products, adding that it is the only way the country can maximize its profits from its mineral deposits.

He made the comment while speaking to reporters during the first Solid Minerals Trade Fair organized by the Nigeria-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, titled MINEXPO 2023, held in Abuja on January 26-27.

The NMDC director general praised the minister of mines and steel development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, for telling foreign investors interested in Nigeria’s lithium deposits that they should set up their processing plants in the country.

According to him, processing raw materials before exporting them significantly increases their value, which, in addition to generating more foreign currency for the country, also translates into job creation for young people from the terminology, among other economic benefits such as the development of infrastructure and the transmission of skills in the affected communities. .

He also stated that the future is bleak if Nigeria does not invest in its solid minerals and that without activating Ajaokuta Steel Mill, the country will not advance in its quest for industrialization, even as he blamed the lack of political will of the country’s leaders for the low performance of the mining sector.

Asuquo, who presented a presentation on the theme of the event: The role of the organized private sector in achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development through solid minerals, pointed out that the income of the solid minerals sector for the country’s GDP have decreased in recent years. years since the colonial and post-colonial era when tin and coal were among Nigetia’s highest revenues.

He presented a table showing 2014 mining profits, which stood at N2.23bn in 2014 and N3.73bn in 2018, rising to N11.29bn in 2022, which, however, pales in importance for South Africa, which had a GDP of N5.5 trillion in 2022 from mining in 2022.

Professor Asuquo further noted that among African countries, Nigeria was getting the lowest value from mining at just 0.5 percent of GDP, while Botwana has the highest at 38 percent, adding that with 44 deposits Confirmed minerals in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), more is expected from the sector than the paltry 0.5 percent.

The Director General emphasized that the Organized Private Sector (OPS) has a fundamental role to play in the nation’s economy, even more so in the mining industry.

He said: “There is a need for the organized private sector to rise to the occasion and invest in Nigeria’s solid minerals, more so than solid minerals like lithium minerals, which are driving the world economy in the area of ​​production of lithium batteries, are being discovered in Nigeria”.

He added that the world needs iron ores and that Nigeria has vast fallow iron ore deposits, with proven reserves of more than 3 billion metric tons. .

Professor Ibrahim Garba, from the Presidential Initiative for the Development of Artisanal Gold Mining (PAGMI), and former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who also spoke at the event, said that inconsistencies in policies due to the constant changes in the leadership of the ministry had not helped. , adding that the government must ensure the ease of doing business for the mining industry to grow.