About 50 junior mining firms are now doing formal mining in Nigeria, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Mr Bawa Bwari, has said.
Bwari said this in Abuja on Tuesday during the handover to the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
While a junior mining firm is an exploration firm in search of new mineral deposits, the senior mining firms are the major established ones with large market capitalisation. The major firms already have good cash flows from their operations.
Although the mining sector is one of the few sectors the Federal Government had hinged its efforts on for the diversification of the economy, major or senior mining companies across the world had ignored Nigeria as a mining destination.
The minister listed the junior firms now operating in the country to include an Australian company, Symbol Mining, which is currently exporting zinc from its open pit mine in Bauchi.
According to the minister, the Bauchi zinc ore has been confirmed to have 22 per cent of zinc compared to the global average of six per cent.