By Maazi Obinna Agommuo,
Executor Director, ESGADIA- Economic Strategic Growth And Development Initiative of Africa.

Nigeria is home to huge Natural Mineral Resources that are strategic to the development of other sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development; “the Star Ministry” therefore is strategic to the development of Nigeria if the Federal Government gives it the attention it deserves to reinvigorate the Nigerian economy.
ESGADIA have noted with keen interest the import of the Mining sector in the growth of the economies of other Nations.
Areas of possible collaboration are but not limited to the following:

COAL FOR POWER GENERATION: Electricity is no doubt the bane of growth of the most populous African Nation; Nigeria.
The World Bank recommends a minimum of 1kwh per capita of Electricity, so if we have say 200 million people in Nigeria the expected Electricity to be generated is 200 million Kilowatts-hour (200,000 Megawatts-hour).
In Countries such as China and USA, Coal remains the major source of Power generation.
Last year 2018, China imported over 281 million metric tons of coal for their Power generation.

Nigeria has in estimated reserve, 2.8 Billion metric tons of Coal but unfortunately Nigeria has so much deficit in Electricity.
Therefore we recommend that the Ministry of Power collaborates with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to harness this source of power to its full effect to generate the much needed Electricity for the economic growth of Nigeria.

BARITE AND BENTONITE AS DRILLING FLUID CHEMICALS: The import of these two minerals in Oil and Gas production (Drilling) cannot be over emphasized. Barite and Bentonite are used during Drilling for Well stabilization as they increase the Hydrostatic pressure of the Drilling mud when applied, in other words, they are applied to prevent the walls of the Well from caving while drilling lasts. Besides, Bentonite helps in cooling the Cutting tools (Rockbits or Drilling Bits) during drilling operations.
Nigeria is estimated to be host to over 10 million metric tons of Barite with Nasarawa State alone having an estimated 730,000 metric tons of Barite and more deposits are yet to be discovered in Nigeria.
Bentonite clay has estimated reserve of 166 million metric tons in Nigeria.
However, it’s sad that Nigeria still imports Barite and Bentonite for her Oil operations thereby exporting the much needed jobs for the Nigerian Youths.
Therefore the Federal Ministry of Petroleum/NNPC must as a matter of urgency collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to mine and Build Barite/Bentonite Milling/Beneficiation plants in States where these Mines are found in large deposits.
The Federal Governments should as a matter of urgency increase the import duty on these two minerals to encourage local production and thereafter prohibit the importation of Barite and Bentonite into the country. This way, the Oil operators including the IOCs will have no choice but to invest in this sub-sector of the Nigerian economy.

WORKS AND HOUSING: Besides Cement Industries which we advocate that the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing should partner with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to build Cement Factories across Nigeria to force down the current killing price of cement from N2500 per bag to less than N1000 per bag of 50kg, we also recommend the Works and Housing Ministry and that of the Petroleum Ministry to partner with the Mines Ministry to build Petrochemical plants to process and refine large deposits of Bitumen deposits in Ondo State of Nigeria,
Bitumen is a major raw material for road construction and other Petrochemicals such as Carbon Black etc. Nigeria should stop importing what she already has.
The POP materials for Housing are products of Dolomite which Nigeria has in abundance.

HYDRATED LIME FOR WATER TREATMENT Hydrated Lime is a product of Limestone. Limestone deposits are in large deposits in the length and breadth of Nigeria. The process plants for producing Hydrated lime (Calcination Plants) are available in the world yet Nigeria imports Hydrated Lime for her water treatment. The Federal Ministry of Water resources can partner with the Mines and Steel Development Ministry to build Calcination plants in Nigeria.

LIMESTONE AND CALCITE as Raw Materials for Animal Feed: Limestone and Calcite are great sources of calcium for the production of animals (livestock) feed.
Therefore it becomes imperative that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture collaborates with the “Star Ministry”, the Mines and Steel Development Ministry to help build Feed Mills or Feed Blending plants across the country wherein these two Mines after mining can be put to use for Livestock Feed production.
Let us stop making Nigeria a dumping ground for imported materials. The handlers of these ministries must first think Nigeria and backward integration before thinking foreign.
Let us stop exporting our jobs to foreign Nations by importing that which we already have. The promoters of such policies who allow such counterproductive policies must be schooled through the implications of unemployment and underemployment created by such policies.
The Ministries can enter into collaboration using common SPVs to either drive the projects alone or go into PPPs with Private Investors who may wish to invest in these areas.
It’s worthy of note that most investors out there are more interested in projects that have Government’s participation for the sake of security of their investment. Therefore Governments across Afrika must prepare themselves to attract investments that can help creat jobs for our Afrikan Youths.
Afrikans must arise and take Charge.