The Federal Government has awarded a mining contract to 10 exploration and consulting companies as part of the country’s efforts to develop the sector, the mining and steel development minister, Abubakar Bwari, said on Tuesday.

Bwari did not say how much the contracts were worth, but in July he had said eight firms would be awarded a government contract to the tune of N12.7 billion ($41.5 million). Nigeria, Africa’s top crude oil producer, is aiming to diversify its economy by developing other industries such as mining through various incentives.

“Recently we gave a contract to four exploration companies, with six consulting firms to explore our mineral resources focusing on gold, zinc, iron ore, rare earth metals,” Bwari told Reuters on the sidelines of the Mines and Money conference in London.

He said Nigeria had offered mining companies three to five years’ tax holiday, duty and tax-free importing of equipment, full ownership of their businesses and the ability to take profits out of the country.

Source: The Sun