Nigeria plans to spend 15 billion naira ($42 million) over the next year to explore for minerals and attract investors into mining and reduce its dependence on oil, Solid Minerals Development Minister Kayode Fayemi said.
“Because we are starting from a low base, we want to have a portfolio of exploration activities in place that could whet the appetite of the average investor who wants to come in,” Fayemi said in an Oct. 18 interview in the capital, Abuja. They will be able to “drill down when they have that baseline information,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s government plans to support investments in the exploration of its priority minerals including gold, bitumen, iron, barite, limestone, lead and zinc, Fayemi said. The government is hoping to attract as much as 60 billion naira of private investment into mining, he said.
Tapping resources other than oil, Nigeria’s main export, is part of the government’s economic recovery and growth plan after the country went through its worst economic slump in 25 years as oil output and prices fell.
Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer. The contribution of solid minerals to gross domestic product is expected to increase to more than 8 percent by 2020 from less than 1 percent year, according to the government.
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