Natural resources and minerals, in particular, play a great role in country’s economy. Nigeria is rather rich in minerals. Read and see what minerals are extracted in Nigeria and how important mining is.
List of major minerals extracted in Nigeria
- Iron ore;
- Lead ore;
Mining in Nigeria
As you see, Nigeria is rich in various minerals. Ancient crystalline rocks contain nonferrous and rare metal ores: tin, niobium, molybdenum, zirconium, tantalum, uranium, gold and silver. In sedimentary rocks, there are deposits of coal, oil, gas, limestone etc. Main wealth of the country – is oil. Its importance for the economy grows every year.
The first search for oil in Nigeria began in 1937, oil-bearing strata were discovered in the Niger Delta and then near the Gulf of Benin. Currently, there are over 300 oil and gas deposits. The largest deposits are Bonny Rivers, Imo river, Oguta, Delta Field, Akpo, Izombe etc.
To see the picture broader we would consider each type of mining separately.
Coal mining in Nigeria
Nigeria is one of the countries of the Guinea coast with industrial deposits of coal. It was found in the early twentieth century. Coal quality is quite high: the average content of ash is 10%, moisture 9%, sulfur – less than 1 %. The largest deposits: Enugu (95,1 million tons), Ogboyaga (of 112.8 million tons), Okaba (77.2 million tons), and Orukpa (57 million tons).
Total reserves are estimated to be about 500 million tons. Large coal reserves are discovered on the banks of Niger, near Asaba and Onichi, and also to the North of Benin. The deposit of the last is considered to be the largest one.
Rock salt mining in Nigeria
Agrochemical raw materials in Nigeria are presented with rock salt and phosphates. Significant deposits of rock phosphate are found near Abeokuta. Reservoirs occur at great depth and only in certain places they come to the surface. Phosphorites aren’t extracted for the production of superphosphates, but in a highly crushed form, they can be used as fertilizer.
Tin mining in Nigeria
Deposits of tin, niobium, and tantalum ores are located on the Jos plateau and to the North on Bauchi plateau. The highest content of these metals is observed in granites. General reserves of tin ore are estimated at about 110 thousand tons, metal content is 72 – 74 %.
Basic mining equipment — draglines and suction dredges. Mechanized large and medium-scaled business provides 65% of the total production. Until 1977 most of the enterprises were under the complete control of the English capital. The implementation of policies of nationalization led to the establishment of 51-58% stakes of the state company “NMC”. In addition, in the beginning of 80s “NMC” company turned to tin mining self-development in the area of Jos.
The largest English-Nigerian company is “Amalgamated Tin Mines of Nigeria, Ltd.” (ATMN). It provides 2/3 of the total production, the number of employees is over 1500. The company is developing an open method of mining in the areas located 10 km from Jos. In 1984, essential mixed the tin-mining companies were combined into a single “Nigerian Tin Mining Co., Ltd”. Until 1961, the tin concentrate was exported, after the construction of a plant in Jos in 1962, tin is subjected to export.
Gold mining in Nigeria
In the crystalline rocks of the Northern plateau, along Niger valleys and some of its tributaries from the plateau of Yoruba you can find gold. Small gold placer mines (Zamfara, Bishini) are concentrated in Central, West, and North-West of the country (Maru, Anka, Malele, Gurmana, Bin Yauri, Okolom-Dogondaji). Most of them worked out, the prospects of the increase in reserves are associated with the area of Ilesha.
Generally, Gold mining was started in 1913, its peak took place in 1930. At the time of WW II, all the extraction of gold was stopped, it never returned to pre-war period development. Such situation still hasn’t changed because the majority of funds are directed at oil mining, as it’s the most dominating sector of mining in Nigeria due to its profitability.
Large enterprises aren’t involved in gold mining in Nigeria, only some families still tend to be engaged in this sphere. For instance, Aleye family from Anka is believed to be the most engaged in gold mining family of the whole region.
Placer deposits vs Ore deposits
Gold is mined from placer and ore deposits. It is more suitable to start mining gold from placer deposits. They require lower investment and are less risky for an investor.
Gemstone mining in Nigeria
Over the past few decades, gemstone mining in Nigeria is becoming more and more important. Still, there aren’t so many large enterprises involved in gemstone mining, there are only some small companies which deal with such sphere.
Speaking about precious stones which were found in Nigeria, they are – sapphires, tourmalines, spessartites, rubellites, aquamarines, topazes, emeralds.
Iron mining in Nigeria
The vast territory of Nigeria has sedimentary rocks enriched in iron. There are so many deposits of iron ore, but they are not developed.
Among the states with iron mining development are ENUGU, NASSARAWA, KOGI, ABUJA, ZAMFARA.
Lead ore mining in Nigeria
In the country, there are also significant reserves of lead and zinc. Among states with the biggest lead ore reserves are CROSS-RIVER, EBONYI, PLATEAU, ZAMFARA and FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY ABUJA.
Copper mining in Nigeria
Nigeria can boost about 150 to 180 copper minerals. Speaking about the amount of copper ore, Nigeria has about 10 million tons of copper ore. It is supposed to play an important role in the structure of various electrical appliances, due to the fact that it is one of the best electricity conductors.
Sapphire mining in Nigeria
Sapphires mining has been developing only from 20 to 30 years. Nowadays Nigerian government is seeking to attract foreign investment into the development of sapphire mining in Nigeria.
Nowadays main small-operated enterprises which deal with sapphires extraction are located in Borno, Kaduna, Taraba, and Bauchi.
Mambilla Mountains is one of the latest places of sapphire mining. Such a place deals with the production of royal blue sapphires. The majority of them is then transported to Sri Lanka or Thailand for further processing.
Importance of mining in Nigeria
Nowadays, the situation is the following – oil sector is considered to be the most dominating one, mining share in country’s GDP is only 0,3%. However, the Nigerian government has understood that in some time they would need to look for other spheres of income for the country. This is true due to the fact that in some years – 10, 100, 1000, there may be the certain decrease in the level of oil extracting, so nowadays it’s time for Nigeria to look for one more profitable field.
Owning to better profits from the mining industry, the Nigerian government tries to put in all their efforts and money in developing such sphere as mining in Nigeria. What’s more, such changes and innovations result into creation of a bigger number of working places in Nigeria. So, the importance of mining in Nigeria is absolutely clear and justified.