Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on Mar 11, 2017 20:33:27 GMT 1
As Nigerians flood the labour market for jobs, a baseline study of the World Bank assisted project for the Ministry of Mine and Steel Development has indicated that the citizens unknowingly sit on a money spinning asset called dimension stones. But besides the lack of technical know-how and mining regulation that are the major encumbrances for the development of the stones, the baseline study suggests that power supply and reliable infrastructure are necessities to drive the venture.
In order to expose Nigerians to other lucrative avenues beside oil and gas, the World Bank assisted project for the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development otherwise known as Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP) had in collaboration with the ministry focused on the introduction of miners to the exploration and marketing of dimension stones. To this end, they flagged off a workshop on the development of dimension stones in the country on June 16, 2009.
Regrettably, the stories that emanated from the records of the development and marketing of the stones in the nation are unbecoming, especially as some insiders from the ministry dropped the hint that 95percent of dimension stone found in the Nigerian market is imported. Their lamentation was predicated on the potential for Nigerian domestically produced stones to meet local demand, as well as the possibility for exporting same to meet the huge foreign demand. Although some quantity of granite blocks are currently being exported to Europe, it has done very little in contributing to reducing Nigeria’s trade deficit.
It was however obvious that the most sought after opportunity for diversification from oil and gas abounds in Nigeria as stakeholders revealed the development of the dimension stone industry through private investment.
Despite these enormous opportunities, a few local investors are only involved in the mining and processing of these granites relative to the production of dimension stones.
Some time ago,SMMRP has thrown its weight behind the ministry to rescue the sector from abysmal oblivion and stagnancy in terms of dimension stone development. The ministry said it has initiated a study to develop a strategic plan for the revitalization and growth of dimension stones in Nigeria. The said strategy, according to sources was also part of the larger platform to create an enabling environment for rapid investment in the mining sector.
To personally kick-start the training, she depicted dimension stones as presently the most suitable building materials for tilling, making of kitchen taps, baths, tombstones and portraits,which have no green house gas emissions associated with their use.
Again,some concerned stakeholders said it is already evident that “Nigeria is endowed with an extraordinary range of colourful granites and marble deposits, which are found in its crystalline rocks and the main quarries for these deposits are in Kaduna, Ondo, Bauchi while the processing plants are located in Kaduna, Ondo, Calabar, Lagos and Bauchi”
The technical baseline study that the World Bank sponsored was carried out to review existing geological literature and outline the Nigeria geological setting and identify specific areas for dimension stone development. It also set out to visit granite/marble quarry/processing in Nigeria. However, it was conducted in Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Abuja, Ondo and Cross River State.
Findings of the study however revealed that no professional geological mining inventory and base study exist for dimension stone in the country. Besides, it indicated that there is no synergy and support from institutions to private sector.
Furthermore, the study claimed that there is shortage of professionals; skilled geologists with experience in all aspects of dimension stones in Nigeria.
Interestingly, it revealed that the sector is of potential market in terms of local, regional and export.
According to the World Bank Baseline study, whereas the nation has an installed capacity of about 200,000 square meter annually only 80,000square meter is currently produced annually.
However, it attested to the fact that there are opportunities for the Nigerian dimension stone investors whether for domestic or export market due to the large availability and variety of potential ones.
This, the study said provides good level of entrepreneurship for new dimension stone companies.
Of the volume of production currently recorded, only domestic market hitherto absorbs the low quality products of made in Nigeria dimension stone due to lack of competition and a very shared market, made only by three to four companies in the country.
The market survey of the study disclosed that the Nigerian granite tiles are sold N6,000 to N9,000 per square kilometer. But imported granite slabs are worth between N22,000 to N25,000 per square meter while imported marble tiles mainly cremamarfil and carrara are sold between N8,000 to N10,000 square meter before the naira was battered, with exemption of value Added Tax (VAT).