The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a contract for exploration and consultancy on data generation regarding certain minerals.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel, Bawa Bwari, who announced this on Wednesday at the end of the meeting of the council at the presidential villa Abuja, said the contracts are targeted at generating data on minerals such as gold, industrial minerals, earth material and iron ore.
He said the contracts are to be given to four companies at the cost of N12.7 billion.
"With this, we will encourage both local and foreign investors to come in.
"Our major challenge is the bankable data, most mining companies will not want to come into your country when they are not sure of what they are going to meet," he said.
Mr Bwari also said Nigeria has the potential for minerals although the nation has not been known as a solid mineral destination, but as a destination for oil and gas.
"The perception is gradually changing and for us to really encourage this people to come in, we really need to explore because you cannot mine without information and information can only be gotten through exploration.
"The government today approved for us to start with some of our targeted minerals in line with what we have in the road map," he said.