AS the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, continues in New York, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, has told investors that Nigeria's minerals deposit was worth $700 billion.
Alake who disclosed this in a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Information, Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Alaba Balogun, said at an event organised by the corporate Council of Africa, on the sideline of UNGA, that despite Nigeria being behind some African countries in mining, it had the potential to take the lead soon based on the over 44 assorted solid minerals in all 774 local government areas of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
He said Nigeria had always occupied a special position in global energy discourse, adding that the country was ready to play an important role in meeting the global demand for critical minerals.
The minister, while wooing investors to the country, highlighted some mouthwatering incentives, including 95% capital allowances of qualifying capital expenditure; three to five years tax holidays; possible capitalization of expenditure on exploration and surveys, as well as free transferability of foreign currency through the Central Bank of Nigeria for servicing of foreign loans and remittances of foreign capital and much more.
He said the country was interested in joint ventures with foreign major mining companies to explore the critical minerals.
Alake said: "Nigeria has always occupied a special position in global energy discourse. Nigeria played a vital role as a key oil exporter during the era of hydrocarbon and became a top 10 exporter of oil.
"As the face of global energy changes, Nigeria once again emerges as a key supplier of gas which we know is an important energy transition fuel today.
"Last year, in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Nigeria was one of the top exporters of LNG to Europe and was the 6th largest LNG global exporter in 2022.
"As you can see, there is a clear trend. Whenever Nigeria is active in the global energy space, it emerges a top 10 global player and it will be no different with critical minerals.
"Nigeria is endowed with a vast deposit of minerals critical to our new world. In our new world, mobility requires a new form of energy driven by minerals in our new electric vehicle world; technology is more mineral-dependent; our energy source will depend more on the energy converted from the sun and other sources; and energy storage is even more mineral reliant.
"This trend does not have any reversal in sight and demand will only continue, particularly as the world seeks and envisions a lower carbon future where environment, social and governance, ESG, factors are prioritized in governance and investment decisions. Therefore, minerals are at the forefront."
According to him, Lithium hosted pegmatite rocks are available across states in Nigeria, including Nasarawa, Kwara, Oyo, Abuja, Kebbi and others.
He maintained that one of the key objectives of the President Bola Tinubu's administration was to develop the entire value chain in-country, in terms of lithium.
"Nigeria is well positioned to play an important role in our new world. Our solid mineral sector is valued at over $700billion and we know there is more to be discovered. Endowed with critical minerals, Nigeria should not and dare I say, cannot be ignored.
"We may not have a strong historic mining history like some of our neighbours, such as Ghana, Mali and those in the South, such as South Africa, Botswana, and others, but things are about to change," the minister added.