Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has explained that based on current data, Nigeria`s solid minerals sector made up about 0.34 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) which meant that based on current official exchange rates, the mining sector contributes N400 billion in value to the economy.
Dr. Fayemi, who stated this in his office in Abuja regretted that Nigerians and successive governments allowed such project of magnitude in nature to remain moribund despite its immense potentials.
The minister then called for collective collaboration of all the stakeholders to enable the ministry achieved its set goal of diversifying the nation`s economy through solid minerals.
According to the minister, it was a collective shame for all Nigerians to have allowed Ajaokuta Steel Plant to remain moribund in spite of their sovereign resources that have been invested in it.
He recounted his recent visit to the site with a delegation from the ministry which he called “an eyesore.” He then assured that the plant would soon be resuscitated to provide employment opportunity for the teeming youths and boost the socio economy of the country, among other things.
Dr. Fayemi stressed that, while that was a significant role, it was smaller than its true potential as the vast majority of the mining assets have yet to be exploited.
He said what has been happening was that the sector has more or less been operating sharply below capacity, with many mining operations manned by small scale artisanal miners, as opposed to the large players.