Nigeria is considering how best to certify and tap into its iron ore reserves, the vice president said on Tuesday, as Africa’s top oil exporter continues to look for ways to diversify its economy away from its reliance on crude oil production.
Although Nigeria is the 12th largest iron ore resource country in the world and the second largest in Africa, about 70 per cent of the deposits are yet to be proven, a pursuit the Federal Government declares it is now engaging in, according to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN).
“We must be extremely ambitious in our industrialisation efforts,” Osinbajo said during a visit to a steel plant in the western city of Ilorin, adding that Nigeria had about 2 billion metric tonnes of known iron ore reserves in total.
He explained further that the need for increased levels of investment in Nigeria, “has never been more crucial than at this period in time”.
Disclosing this at the foundation laying ceremony of Kam Steel Integrated Complex at Jimba Oja, Prof. Osinbajo stated steel plays an important part in the Buhari administration’s economic agenda, and therefore called on other operators in the steel industry in the country to ensure Nigeria “becomes a net exporter of steel within the shortest possible time”.
The Vice President, who was accompanied by the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed; and the Solid Minerals Development Minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, among others, spoke to a gathering of captains of industries, financial experts, political leaders and stakeholders at the foundation laying ceremony.
The vice president also said steel played an important role in the government’s economic plan and that the administration wanted Nigeria to become “a net exporter of steel within the shortest possible time”.