Generally, Nigeria has a favourable geologic environment and a high potential for economic mineral deposits, due to its position within the extensive Pan-African mobile belt separating the West African and Congo cratons. In neighbouring countries, the Pan-African mobile belt is often associated with a number of world-class deposits.
Prior to the emergence of the petroleum industry 30 years ago, solid minerals and agriculture were the key sectors of Nigeria's economy. Until 1960, coal and tin were mined and exported on a large scale. Poor management, changing economic and political circumstances, as well as neglect, led to a decline in existing operations and a situation in which little new investment in mineral exploration and development, neither foreign nor domestic, could be attracted.
The national economy of Nigeria is critically dependent on products and services generated by the natural environment. The majority of the poorest Nigerians depend directly on natural resources. Thus, sustainable use of Nigeria's natural resources is a fundamental factor for achieving poverty reduction and long-term development. Focus on private sector development in the non-oil sector is crucial to the country's long-term economic health.
Recognising this obvious gap, and in order to improve Nigeria’s competitiveness to attract private investments, the Government of Nigeria has identified the need to improve and strengthen the institutional and administrative capacity of MMSD via a new mineral sector reform strategy.
Part of this strategy is the new Mining and Mineral Act, which clearly defines the Government’s role as a regulator, facilitator and supervisor, while the operation and implementation of mining activities are left in the hands of the private sector. In addition, the new Mining and Mineral Act defines the Mining Cadastre Office as an autonomous body administering mining titles with integrity and in a transparent manner on a "first come, first served" basis.
The general objectives of the Mining Cadastre Office are:
Promotion of the private sector investment in solid minerals sector
Improvement o f the investment climate and attraction of foreign investors
Generation of appropriate revenue for the government