2 September 2011, Sweetcrude,Perth,Australia – Nigeria expects the first significant iron ore production next year from its Itakpe iron ore deposits as it looks to reduce dependence on oil and gas revenues, according to Trade and Investment minister, Olusegun Aganga.
“Unfortunately, once we found oil, all the attention went to oil and we neglected (other areas)… mining is one of the key areas that we want to diversify into,” Aganga said on the sidelines of a a mining conference in Perth, Australia on Friday.
The West African country, which gets nearly 80 percent of its revenues from oil and gas production, will start receiving revenue from iron ore production next year, he said.
The Itakpe iron ore deposit contains 3 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves, according to the minister.
Aganga said initial production from the mine is expected to be 2 million tonnes a year, ramping up to 20 million tonnes annually in five years, a development that will help Nigeria establish a track record in the mining industry and allow it to attract more investors.