The National Bureau of Statistics has recorded an increase in the importation of solid minerals, which rose by 74.39 per cent from N23.56bn in the first quarter of 2021 to N41.09bn in the same quarter in 2022.
According to the report, solid mineral imports were dominated by plasters of calcined gypsum or calcium sulphate imported from Turkey worth N6.87bn and China valued at N1.87bn.
Other products imported under this category were salt for human consumption from Namibia (N5.87bn) and Tunisia (N1.14bn), and Gypsum anhydrite (N5.72bn) from Spain.
The report read in part, “The value of solid minerals imports in the first quarter of 2022 stood at N41.09bn, this value was 37.84 per cent higher than the value recorded in Q4, 2021 (N29.81bn) and 74.39 per cent of the value recorded in Q1, 2021 (N23.56bn).”
Meanwhile, The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, recently described Nigeria as blessed, after revealing the country poses 44 different types of minerals in commercial quantity in over 500 locations in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Some of the minerals include baryte, kaolin, gypsum, feldspar, limestone, coal, bitumen, lignite, uranium, gold, cassiterite, columbite, iron ore, lead-zinc, copper, granite, laterite, sapphire, tourmaline, emerald, topaz, amethyst, and garnet.
However, the minister also said that Nigeria and other African countries were suffering from the under-utilization of mineral resources despite huge deposits.
Adegbite, who was represented by the Director-General, Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office, Obadiah Nkom, spoke at the first International Conference and Exhibitions of the Nigerian Society of Economic Geologists in Abuja.
The minister said, “Undeniably, Nigeria’s Minerals sector offers robust economic potential for diversification of the nation’s economy yet the country and indeed, many other African Countries have continued to suffer under utilization of their mineral resources.
“This has accounted for the slow phase of socio-economic development in Nigeria and many African countries. Our country is known to operate a mono economy where oil accounts for almost 90 per cent of the foreign exchange earnings.”