Solid Minerals in Nigeria

Nigeria is a nation that is endowed with abundant mineral resources buried in its soil waiting to be exploited. The vastness of the Nigeria’s mineral resources cannot and should not be over emphasized, as the solid mineral sector was the main hub of the Nigeria’s economy, second only to agriculture before the discovery of crude oil in the late 1950s. According to the Nigeria Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (NEITI), about 44 different kinds of solid minerals are buried within the Nigeria’s soil in about 450 different locations across all the states of the federation. The major solid minerals of economic value in Nigeria can be classified into three main groups namely;

Metallic Minerals: the minerals in this group are further subdivided into the base metals, and the precious metals. The base metals are renowned for their relative abundance. This category of metal oxidizes and corrodes relatively quickly when exposed to air or moisture. They are often more abundant in nature, and relatively easier to mine. They therefore have lower economic values compared to the precious metals. Metals of this subdivision that are mined in Nigeria include lead, copper, nickel, and zinc which are the commonest. Others include tin, columbite, tantalite, manganese, cassiterite, chromium, tungsten, wolframite, zirconium, molybdenum and iron ores. The base metals formed the bulk of the metallic minerals deposits of Nigeria, and are also very important in world metal market because of their numerous industrial applications.

The precious metals deposits of Nigeria include gold, silver, titanium and platinum. Though the precious metals are not essential for industrialization, they are a valuable source of foreign exchange and their exploitation to a large scale promotes the establishment of ancillary industries.

Non-metallic Minerals: they are more abundant than metallic minerals.  As the name implies, non metallic minerals do not contain metals, and they are generally found in sedimentary rocks, with the exception of few such as industrial rocks for construction purposes which are associated with the basement complex of Nigeria. This class of minerals unlike the metallic minerals does not yield new products on heating. They have a wide range of applications as raw materials for domestic industries and as well as for construction purposes. A wide range of non-metallic minerals abounds in Nigeria amongst which are kaolin, barite, salt, bentonite, gypsum, talc, and phosphates all of which have a wide range of industrial applications. Construction non-metallic minerals in Nigeria include industrial rocks such as granite and other crystalline rocks which are been extensively quarried for road constructions and building purposes, limestone, shale, sand, clay, gravel and laterite. The gemstones or precious stones are associated with pegmatites or quartz veins in the rocks of the basement complex and younger granites. The gemstones like the precious metals can also serve as a valuable source of income to a developing country like Nigeria.  Ruby, beryl, sapphire, emerald, garnet, topaz, and amethyst are few among the list of the gemstones found in the country.

Energy Minerals: energy minerals are used to generate electricity, fuel for transportation, heating for homes and offices and the manufacture of plastics. Energy mineral resources of Nigeria include coal, uranium and bitumen/tar sand. Table 1 is a comprehensive list of solid minerals and the States in which they are found in Nigeria.

The construction non-metallic minerals such as granites, limestone, gypsum, laterite and clay are the most abundant of mineral deposits in Nigeria. The distribution of mineral deposits in Nigeria as showed in table 1 shows a high concentration of metallic minerals in the Northwestern, North-Central, Southwestern and Southeastern parts of the country, while most of the non-metallic and energy minerals are found within the sedimentary basins. This trend of mineral distribution is highly linked to the combined influences of both geological and structural patterns that control the localization of mineral deposits.

According to the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, among the minerals that occur in significant commercial quantities in different parts of the country, limestone has an annual national demand of 18 million metric tons (MT), and has driven the growth of Nigeria’s cement industry. Talc has been estimated to be about 40 million MT, while over a billion MT of gypsum is spread across the country. Nigeria has the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world. Coal is over 1 trillion MT. Nigeria’s most promising minerals resources are however, gold, iron ore, bitumen, lead, zinc, barite, limestone, coal, and tin.

Table 1Mineral Distributions According to States in Nigeria.

1LeadEbonyi, Imo, Cross River, Nassarawa, Benue, Plateau, Zamfara, Taraba
2CopperPlateau, Zamfara, Nassarawa, Kano, Yobe, Bauchi.
4ZincEbonyi, Cross River, Benue, Plateau, Nassarawa, Taraba, Zamfara
5TinPlateau, Kano, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Ekiti, Kogi, Cross River
6Columbite Plateau, Bauchi, Cross River Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa,
7TantaliteCross River, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kano, Kaduna
8ManganeseKatsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Niger, Kaduna
9cassiteriteBauchi, Cross River, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Plateau
10ChromiumKaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kogi
11TungstenBauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Nassarawa, Niger
12WolframiteKaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Zamfara, Bauchi
13ZirconiumBauchi, Nassarawa, Plateau, Kaduna
14MolybdenumPlateau, Kano
15Iron OreEnugu, FCT, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, Zamfara
16GoldOsun, Kogi, Niger, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kebbi Kwara, Kano, Katsina
17SilverEbonyi, Kano
18TitaniumBauchi, Kaduna, Katsina, Nassarawa, Cross River
20KaolinAkwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Imo, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Katsina, Kogi, Kebbi, Plateau, Rivers
21BariteBenue, Cross River, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba, Zamfara, Adamawa, Ebonyi,
22 Rock SaltAkwa Ibom, Benue, Ebonyi, Cross River, Imo, Nassarawa
23BentoniteBorno, Yobe, Edo, Kogi, Ogun, Ondo
24GypsumAdamawa, Edo, Gombe, Yobe, Sokoto, Ebonyi
25TalcEkiti, Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Osun, Oyo
26PhosphatesImo, Ogun, Sokoto
27LimestoneBenue, cross River, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kogi Ogun, Sokoto, Borno
28LateriteAbia, Oyo
29ClayAll States
30ShaleBenue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Kogi, Gombe, Ogun Sokoto,
31MicaEkiti, Kogi, Kwara,  Nassarawa, Oyo
32GemstonesBauchi, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Oyo, Ogun, Niger, Kogi, Plateau, Taraba
33CoalAbia, Adamawa, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Nassarawa, Plateau
34UraniumBauchi, Cross River, Taraba
35BitumenOndo, Ogun, Lagos, Edo
36FeldsparBauchi, Borno, FCT, Kaduna, Kogi, Ekiti, Nassarawa, Kwara
37MarbleEdo, Oyo, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, FCT

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