Prof. Baba Abdullahi Alafara of the Department of Industrial Chemistry, University of Ilorin, has affirmed that Nigeria is abundantly and richly blessed with immeasurable mineral and material resources with high potential to bring it out of its current economic quagmire if adequately and effectively harnessed. Alafara, who spoke while delivering his Inaugural Lecture in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, said the gesture, if earnestly pursued by government, would significantly contribute to the country’s economic and technological growth and development, thereby invigorating the desire of the country to diversity its economy from the current sole dependence on petroleum as a source of foreign exchange.
He lamented that the hydometallurgical processing as a means of optimising the quality of Nigerian mineral and secondary materials for industrial additions has not been given the deserved attention by government, adding that despite their high economic values, they are yet to be effectively harnessed.
He said: “As revenue from crude oil has declined sharply in recent years, Nigeria has struggled and is still struggling to find other revenue sources through energising of the other sectors of the economy. Therefore, exploration of the abundant mineral resources is a prominent source of diversifying the economic base of the country. “Efforts are currently ongoing to tap the available mineral resources as the basis for industrial growth and national economic development. All hands must therefore be on deck to optimise the extraction and utilisation of these abundant natural metals.
“There is the need therefore to develop or continuously develop simple, feasible and cost effective as well as eco-friendly routes for the extraction of metal for industrial value addition from the nation’s economic mineral deposits, and material resources becomes most paramount. “It is important to note that Nigerian minerals have high economic values and most companies in Nigeria and other parts of the world depend largely on the importation of refined metal products extracted from their metal ore bodies. Consequently, the use of locally sourced minerals for our industries would enable the country to save a significant proportion of its hard-earned foreign currencies as there are increasing demands for industrial metal products.”