Lagos — Minister for mines and steel development, Olamilekan Adegbite, on Wednesday said Nigeria expects its mining sector to account for 3% of GDP over the next five years.
According to him, the move is appropriate as the federal government seeks to diversify the economy away from oil.
While the oil industry contributes over 80% to Nigeria’s revenue, the mining sector contributes a meagre 0.3%.
Olamilekan Adegbite said he expects “exponential growth” in the mining sector, with gold, lead, zinc, limestone and coal among seven strategic minerals identified for investment.
He said the country already attracted $600 million worth of investment to develop an iron ore project from African Natural Resources and Mines.
“The short-term goal is to raise the contribution of the mining sector from 0.33 percent to 3 percent within the next five years,” Adegbite said.
“We’ve seen steady growth, and we’re now poised for exponential growth as investments start crystallising,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an African mining conference in Cape Town.
Adegbite said the government would require mining companies to sign agreements with local communities, who remain unhappy with a perceived lack of development and benefits, before investing.
“We’ve learnt our lessons from the oil industry and we’re not repeating that mistake, so one of the major fundamental requirements before you can do anything in Nigeria is local community agreements,” he said.