Govt reduces strategic minerals to five

No Comments » March 25th, 2009 posted by // Categories: Nigeriawatch



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Govt reduces strategic minerals to five

THE Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development might have reduced the number of its “strategic minerals” from seven to five based on their global market demand and reserve level.

An official of the ministry, who pleaded anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the new five strategic minerals included coal, bitumen, iron ore, limestone and gold.

It would be recalled that the ministry, under the leadership of Chief Sarafa Ishola in 2008, had listed seven minerals as “strategic” and deserving urgent attention, given their economic viability.

The seven former strategic minerals were coal, bitumen, iron ore, baryte, limestone, gold and lead/zinc.

According to the source, the Minister, Mrs Dieziani Allison-Madueke, considered the seven minerals important but decided to concentrate on five based on their demand in the global market and reserve level.

He further said coal had a reserve of 2,734 tonnes while bitumen had more than 43 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent.

The source also said iron ore estimates showed a reserve of five billion tonnes while limestone had a reserve of 568 million tonnes and gold with more than 50,000 ounces.

The source said the five minerals had the potential of turning the sector to a major source of revenue for the country as they were economically viable.

“The non-oil sector is attracting investments because of the fall in global oil prices and government’s resolve to diversify the economy,” the source said.

NAN also reports that the seven strategic minerals cumulatively accounted for more than 80 per cent of the solid minerals sector’s contribution to the GDP.

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