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Nigeria urged to develop mining sector to mitigate post-COVID-19 economic shocks

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THE World Bank has called on Nigeria to develop its mining sector in order to help mitigate post-COVID-19 economic shocks, instead of waiting for a rebound of oil prices in the global market.

The Task Team Leader on the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project at the World Bank, Mr. Mike Stanley, made the disclosure yesterday.

  According to him, Nigeria should not wait for oil prices to rebound before developing its mining sector, as doing so might not yield the expected result because of possible oversupply of the commodity in the market from other oil-producing countries, Saudi Arabia inclusive.

 Speaking further, Stanley, at a Virtual Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the MinDiver Project under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development recalled that oil prices indicated a decline since 2014, adding that it has become imperative for Nigeria to have a rethink by focusing on developing the money-spinning and revenue-generating solid minerals sector.

He identified some of the minerals to include iron ore, limestone, lithium, cobalt, and generally thinking out of the box, to attract investment.

The Media Officer, MinDiver Project, Ishaku Kigbu, in a statement he issued yesterday, after a crucial session of the Virtual Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the MinDiver Project under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, revealed that the World Bank, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences (NIMG), urged the federal government to galvanise the nation’s mining sector in mitigating post-COVID-19 economic shocks.

The review was designed to assess the role of mining in minimising the impact of the COVID–19 pandemic and the global oil crisis.

The organisations urged the government to tap the economic potential of mining with the continued declining oil prices in the global market.

The World Bank, PwC and NIMG noted that some solid minerals, including battery minerals, cobalt, lithium, gemstone, jewelry, barite, and phosphate, among others, have high demand at the international market

According to the statement, barites are needed and used in the oil industry; phosphate for the fertiliser industry and limestone to manufacture cement for the construction industry.

It added that the overall objective of the MTR is to review the progress of the MinDiver project with the World Bank, stakeholders of the ministry and other key actors, as well as look at new ways of integrating mining into the mainstream economy with a view to building Nigeria’s resilience to shocks.

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