The economic situation of Nigeria and the mining sector

It is indisputable that the Nigerian mining sector is currently in a moribund state, despite the government’s mantra of diversification.

Mining is generally referred to as the extraction of valuable minerals and other geological materials from the earth’s crust, usually from deposits of veins, veins, ore bodies, beds, reefs or placers.

These deposits constitute a mineralized unit of economic interest for the mining prospector. Minerals obtained through mining activity include gemstones, limestone, coal, oil shale, metals, dimension stone, clay, gravel, potash, and rock salt, among others.

Mining is necessary to obtain essential products that cannot be grown through agricultural processes or created artificially in a factory or laboratory. The extraction of stones and metals has been a well-known human occupation since prehistoric times.

Modern mining processes involve prospecting for ore bodies, analysis of the profit potential of the proposed mine, extraction of desired materials, and final reclamation of affected land after mine closure.

The economic importance of mining cannot be overstated. In Ghana, for example, the country’s mining sector is a very vital segment of its economy and has played an important role in its socio-economic development since the colonial period. Historically, the contribution of Ghana’s mining sector to the country’s raw currencies – particularly gold – has been matched only by its cocoa sector.

Not only do products power the family car and heat the family home, but manufacturing, high-tech industries, and even the better-known resource industries all depend – in one way or another – on industry. mining.

The mining industry will continue to be an important support to the economy of any country that embraces it. Apart from boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it encourages high rates of employment opportunities and also thrives to ensure that the number of entrepreneurs in the country increases significantly.

Despite the continued boom in the sector, Nigeria is still lagging behind. Shockingly, despite the unquantifiable solid minerals the country is blessed with, mining currently accounts for a mere 0.3% of the country’s GDP, due to the influence of its vast petroleum resources.

The country’s domestic mining industry is conspicuously underdeveloped, resulting in the importation of minerals such as, but not limited to, iron ore and salt, which could be produced easily in the country. It’s a shame that sand is the only material that has been mined over time across the country.

Property rights to mineral resources are held by the Federal Government (FG) which grants titles to organizations interested in exploring, exploiting and selling mineral resources, but the business has so far been relatively unpopular.

The administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo began a process of selling off state-owned mining companies to private investors in 1999. It is pathetic and discouraging to acknowledge that so far these companies are ostensibly moribund.

Upon taking office, perhaps stung by the devastating physiognomy of Nigeria’s mining sector, the government under President Mohammadu Buhari firmly assured many Nigerians that the administration would rejuvenate the industry.

No wonder the government recently approved a solid mineral exploration contract worth N12.7 billion. Yet, at the moment, pathetically, no serious and practical impact has been registered, probably due to a lack of political orientation.

It is therefore high time for Nigeria to start exploiting the available solid mineral deposits that abound in the country – including tale, gypsum, lead, zinc, bentonite, gold, uranium, bitumen , coal, rock salt, precious stones, kaolin and barite – all of which are highly lucrative and of great economic value. This can only be achieved by tactically lamenting required techniques and imbibing workable policies into the system.

Surface mining and underground (underground) mining are the two main forms of mining available. Target minerals are generally divided into two categories of materials, namely placer deposits and vein deposits. The former include valuable minerals contained in rivers, gravels, beach sands and other unconsolidated materials, while the latter are those found in veins, layers or grains of widely distributed minerals. in a mass of real rock.

Both classes of deposits could be mined by either of the aforementioned mining types. Additionally, in situ leaching is another technique mainly used in the extraction of rare earth elements and soluble minerals like uranium, potash, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, and sodium sulfate. Of all of them, surface mining is currently much more common and viable.

However, it is relevant to understand that mining, like oil drilling, is associated with various environmental factors. These include erosion, sinkhole formation and loss of biodiversity, associated with contamination of soil, soil and surface waters by chemicals from mining processes.

In some cases, additional logging is carried out near the mines to create space for the storage of the debris and soil created. Basic examples of pollution from mining activities include coal fires, which can last for years and cause serious environmental damage.

These threats, as stated above, can be properly controlled through the efforts of the concerned law enforcement agency by implementing strict environmental and rehabilitation laws as well as functional policies.

Now that diversification is seemingly the only way to revive Nigeria’s troubled and epileptic economy, governments at all levels should strive to take the bull by the horn to ensure that the mining industry benefits from a well deserved attention.

Considering the impact that the said sector is likely to create on the economy of the country as a whole, needless to say, its exploration is long overdue, hence feasible policies and actions are seriously needed.