About two-thirds of Nigeria’s mineral exports in 2017 went to China, a recent report on solid minerals shows.
The audit report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) also showed that three of the 26 minerals exported in 2017 accounted for 73.81 per cent of total exports.
The three commodities are Zinc ores and concentrate, Lead ores and concentrate, and Silica Sands and Quartz.
China was the major destination of Nigeria’s export during the year under review, followed by Malaysia and Vietnam.
While China accounted for 68 per cent of the total export value during the year, Malaysia and Vietnam accounted for 6.5 per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively.
The total value of mineral exports, however, decreased by 26.95 per cent in 2017 in comparison with 2016.
The large volume of export to China may be based on demand but also based on the increasing trade and partnership between China and Nigeria.
Nigeria has obtained 17 Chinese loans of about $6.5 billion to fund projects across sectors since 2002.
In terms of volume, limestone was the most produced and sold mineral in Nigeria during the year.
Over 19.4 million tonnes of limestone was used/sold in Nigeria in 2017, attracting a market value of over N11.6 billion.
The mineral also attracted over N583 million as payment for royalty and constituted 55 per cent of Nigeria’s mineral production in the year under review.
Limestone, the major constituent in cement production, is found in substantial deposits across Nigeria. It is being exploited in some states, but some are still untouched or not discovered yet.
Amongst other things, limestone can be crushed to provide a base for roads and can also be found in paper, paint, plastics, tiles and even toothpaste.
It is found in a commercial deposit in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Ogun, Ondo, and Sokoto states.
According to the report, limestone, granite aggregate, and laterite accounted for 85.72 per cent of mineral production in Nigeria, with limestone alone contributing about 55 per cent.
Findings by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that most of the 59 companies that paid royalties in 2017 are into cement production and quarry.
Quarry in Nigeria is a major subsector in the construction industry, it is where solid minerals are blasted or crushed for construction use.
Asides air pollution, quarrying activities have a number of effects like land degradation, water pollution, and occupational noise pollution will lead to health-related problems.
According to The World Health Organisation estimate, seven million people die prematurely every year from air pollution-related diseases, including strokes and heart disease, respiratory illness and cancer.
“Many pollutants which damage health also harm the environment and contribute to climate change. These include black carbon from diesel engines, cooking stoves, and waste incineration, and ground-level ozone, which are harmful but are short-lived in the atmosphere,” WHO said.
Also, the report disclosed that four out of the 59 companies that paid royalties in the mining sector produced a combined total of over N20 billion, out of the N32.78 billion made in 2017.
These companies made the bulk of the total production volume used in 2017 as they also produced over 27 million tonnes, representing 77.31 per cent of the total 35.33 million tonnes produced for the year.
The production value of these companies accounted for over 60 per cent of the total value of produced minerals.
The companies are Dangote Cement Plc, Lafarge Cement Plc, CGC Nigeria Limited and Julius Berger Plc.
Production by State
Ogun State produced the highest quantity of minerals both in terms of volume and value.
The state accounts for over one-third of total production quantity and 23 per cent of the total mineral production value.
With limestone being the major minerals they produced, Ogun and Kogi states accounted for over half the total production quantity.
In terms of production value, Ogun, FCT and Kogi states accounted for 23 per cent, 20 per cent, and 18 per cent respectively of the total production value, contributing a combined total of about 61percent of the production value.