Nigeria awards exploration contracts to 10 mining firms

The Nigerian government on Tuesday said it has awarded a mining contract to ten exploration and consulting companies.

, ’s minister of mining and steel development, said the move is part of the country’s efforts to develop the mining sector.

The minister spoke on the sidelines of the Mines and Money conference in London.

Reuters reports that Mr Bwari did not say how much the contracts were worth.

“Recently we gave a contract to four exploration companies, with six consulting firms to explore our mineral resources focusing on , zinc, iron ore, rare earth metals,” he told Reuters in London.

Mr Bwari said had offered mining companies a three to five year “tax holiday”, duty and tax-free importing of equipment, full ownership of their businesses and the ability to take profits out of the country.

“Apart from the normal budgetary allocation government has given intervention of $100 million and we are focusing on exploration,” the minister said, adding that the funds would be used to help government to develop the sector.

Earlier in July, the minister said eight firms would be awarded a government contract to the tune of N12.7 billion ($41.5 million).

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On Tuesday, the minister said the World Bank and Nigerian authorities recently discussed progress on spending the $150 million the bank agreed to lend the country in April to develop the mining , adding that he would like things to move more quickly.

Nigeria slipped out of recession in the second quarter of 2017, after months of increase in prices of goods and services, occasioned largely by a slump in oil prices.

As parts of its efforts to consolidate on growth, ’s top crude oil producer aims to diversify its economy by developing other industries such as agriculture, , and mining.

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