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Mining accounts for 1% of the Nigeria’s GDP due to the influence of its vast oil resources. The domestic mining industry is underdeveloped, leading to Nigeria having to import minerals that it could produce domestically, such as salt or iron ore. The country has significant coal and iron ore reserves as well several gold, uranium, tantalum and REE showings throughout the country. In April 2008, Minister of Mines and Steel Sarafa Tunji Ishola announced that Nigeria was considering coal as an alternative power source as it attempts to reform its power sector, and encouraged Chinese investors to invest in the coal industry. Nigeria’s mining industry was monopolized by state-owned public corporations, which led to a decline in the production of almost all mineral industries. In 1999, private investors started buying off the government owned corporations. Since then, The Ministry of Solid minerals development has been working on re-vitalizing the mining industry in the country through several projects.


Gold deposits are found in western Nigeria, most prominently near Maru, Anka, Malele, Tsohon Birnin Gwari-Kwaga, Gurmana, Bin Yauri, Okolom-Dogondaji, and Iperindo in Kwara State. Lack of funds and the lure for easier profits from oil production led to the failure of gold exploitation in the country. There is no large scale gold mining operation in Nigeria today, though there is small-scale mining carried out by artists. The family of Aleye from Anka is one of the leading gold families in the region.

Columbite & Tantakite

Columbite and tantakite are known as coltan in Africa and are the ores to produce the elements niobium and tantalum. In Nigeria, pegmatite deposits of coltan, which are found in southeast Nigeria, are also the source of several precious and semi-precious stones such as beryl, aquamarine and tourmaline. There is small-scale mining of these minerals.


Bitumen was first discovered in 1900, with focused exploration beginning in 1905. Bitumen deposits are found in Lagos State, Ogun State, Ondo State, and Edo State. Conoco has performed a technical and economic evaluation of these deposits, and believes there to be over thirteen billion barrels of oil in these tar sands and bitumen seepages.


Nigeria has several deposits of iron ore, but the purest deposits are in and around Itakpe in Kogi State. The National Iron Ore Mining Company’s mission is to explore, exploit, process, and supply iron ore concentrate to the Ajaokuta Steel Company (ASCL) inAjaokuta and Delta Steel Company (DCL) in Aladja. Additional demand has come from several steel rolling mills.. Export of excess iron ore beyond what is required for domestic needs is currently being explored. Additionally, the Nigerian government has invested in foreign iron ore operations in Guinea.


Uranium is found in 6 of the 36 states in Nigeria. Recently, several important uranium deposits were discovered in Cross River State, Adamawa State, Taraba State, Plateau State, Bauchi State, and Kano State by the British Geological Survey.

Mineral Law & Legislation

Mining regulation is handled by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, which oversees the management of all mineral resources. The Ministry grants titles to organizations to explore, mine and sell mineral resources. Mining law is codified in the Federal Minerals and Mining Act of 1999. The Federal Government has liberalized foreign investment in Nigeria. These can be considered as strong incentives for any prospective investor into the Nigerian mining industry. In addition, there are several interesting export incentives attracting tax reliefs and tax exemptions.

Exclusive mining licenses are granted by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development and are summarized as follows:

Major Players in the Industry

  • A.U.S.A. Nigeria Limited
  • Ableen Farms Limited
  • Co-op Investors & Contractors Ltd.
  • Cyclomaster Services
  • Ndiribe Stone Quarry
  • Rhodium Limited
  • Sunfine Dynamic Limited
  • Universal Mining & Metals Industries Limited
  • Geotess International Corporation
  • Amil Solid Minerals and Agro-allied Company
  • Nigerian Coal Corporation
  • Nigerian Mining Corporation

Key Figures

  • Gold production: 40 kilograms (2006)
  • Barite production:20,000 tons (2006)
  • Coal production: 8000 tons (2005)
  • Tin production:1,500 tons (2006)

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