Mining in Nigeria: Rediscovering the Lost Treasures

mn1In the modern times, mining has established itself as a buyer’s market. Various regions throughout the world, including China, Australia, Europe, South Africa, and Canada, are all doing extremely well in this industry, with a major chunk of investments being directed by companies into these areas. However, another region which seems set to join these locations is Nigeria, a country ready to revitalize its mining industry.


The mineral development in Nigeria has mostly remained highly focused on the oil industry of the country. Being the largest oil producer in Africa, the country also provides a 3% contribution to global oil production. As such, it is understandable as to why Nigeria focuses so heavily on its oil industry. Unfortunately though, this has left the mining industry in this African country completely neglected.

Although in recent times there has been a surge in bringing the country’s mining sector back to life, no substantial efforts have been made in this regard. However, the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development is now intent on increasing the mining sector’s role in the country’s economy again, and is looking to establish a geochemical database which will contribute to the exploration efforts in Nigeria. The Ministry looks to achieve this with the help of South Africa.

As of now, mining contributes merely 1% to the country’s GDP. This is surprising to say the least, when Nigeria is home to significant iron ore and coal reserves, on top of a wide range of REE, tantalum, gold, and uranium showings across the map of this country. Impressively, Uranium has been located in 6 of the total 36 states of Nigeria.


The main reason why the mining industry failed to see the light of day in Nigeria was the Civil War. Upon the war’s end in the early 1970s, none of the country’s mining efforts were able to return to their previous glory. Despite the fact that attempts were made to mechanize this sector in the following years, nothing really did the trick as considerable issues in maintenance and implementation were encountered.

The most notable of these past productions was gold, which started in 1913 and saw its peak in the 1930s. mn3However, this too faced a quick downfall during World War II. Colonial companies abandoned the mines, after which production was never able to recover.

To this date, deposits of a variety of minerals still remain untouched in the country. This misfortune is indeed predicted to change, as the government has now decided to open the country’s mining industry up to private investments. Up to 44% of the country’s airborne geophysical mapping has been completed, and the government looks to complete the remaining 56% mapping soon.

Despite the fact that Nigeria was unable to experience a similar rush of mining investments that stormed neighboring countries in search of gold, the future still holds much promise for this country as gold prices are set to resurge. Thanks to this, Nigeria could possibly serve as an exciting platform for mining companies in the coming years.

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