The federal government says it has awarded contracts for the exploration of the country’s mineral resources to ten firms.
According to Reuters, minister of mining and steel development, Abubakar Bwari, disclosed this on the sidelines of the mines and money conference in London on Tuesday.
Although Bwari did not reveal the cost of the contracts, he aid $100 million had been allocated to the development of the sector in addition to what had been approved in the 2018 budget.
The Minister announced in July that eight firms would be awarded contracts worth N12.7 billion.
“Recently we gave a contract to four exploration companies, with six consulting firms to explore our mineral resources focusing on gold, zinc, iron-ore, rare earth metals,” Bwari was quoted as saying.
“Apart from the normal budgetary allocation government has given intervention of $100-million and we are focusing on exploration.”
Bwari said during a visit to Nigeria some weeks ago, officials of the World Bank had discussed how a $150 million loan will be spent on the sector.
The Minister invited potential investors to key into opportunities in the sector, adding that Nigeria is a “greenfield with 44 mineral types and some of the highest grades of minerals anywhere in the world.”
He said Nigeria’s mining industry is now “completely private sector driven with government acting as facilitator and regulator.”