From industrial metals to precious stones, columbite to tantalite and limestone to zinc, Nigeria is replete with untapped mining resources. Dele Alake, the country’s minister of solid minerals development, stated on 29 April that it is endowed with minerals valued at a conservative $750bn.

But Nigeria has largely failed to generate significant income from its vast natural resources – less than 1% of Nigeria’s GDP is contributed by its mining industry.


Historically, the sector has faced low investment. Despite its potential, Alake lamented on 8 May that Nigeria’s exploration budget is ranked 12th in Africa by S&P Global Ratings, with just $2.5m invested, compared to Côte d’Ivoire’s $147m and DR Congo’s $133m.

Many intriguing projects never make it past the exploratory or feasibility stage due to the difficulty of obtaining funds for project design, development, and manufacturing.

The lack of reliable geological data, a lack of enforceable regulations, community insecurity, and weak human capital, are all to blame for the lack of interest. However, Nigeria’s economic diversification has become more urgent, due to the unpredictable nature of oil prices.

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