The bitumen belt across Ondo, Ogun, Lagos, and Edo states has over 42 billion tonnes of deposits, being the second-largest in the world and almost twice Nigeria’s oil reserves.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said this at the maiden edition of the virtual conference on Strategic Engagement on Sustainable Mining entitled “Resurrecting our Buried Prosperity” in Abuja last weekend.
He said even farther back in 1913, gold in commercial quantities had already been found in parts of Northern Nigeria and what is now Osun State even as the country’s potential coal reserves are currently estimated to be as high as 3bn tonnes.
He said Nigeria has the 12th largest iron ore deposit in the world, more than 3 billion tons.
“So buried in the ground in various parts of Nigeria are riches that could ensure that no Nigerian is unemployed, underfed, or neglected.”
He expressed regret that with the discovery of oil, these incredible riches have remained buried in the ground for decades.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, said Nigeria is endowed with over 44 different mineral types occurring in commercial quantities in over 500 locations across the 36 States and the Federal Capital territory.
He said the federal government has developed some incentives to advance mining such as Customs and import duties waiver for plant, machinery and equipment, three to five years tax holidays, among others.