Nigeria’s mining sector is diverse in mineral resources including high value commodities. 44 different types of minerals have been identiﬁed in more than 500 locations. In order to tap into the potential of this promising industry, Administrative and bureaucratic procedures have been scaled down to the minimum for the effectiveness of Government policies and programmes like the 2020 Solid Minerals Development Fund (SMDF) to which the government has expressed its readiness in furnishing $500-million to unlock $1.5-billion in third party investments and financing in the mining sector. Investors have easy access to working capital and other credit facilities. The government designated a number of strategic minerals that it believed had the potential to make a signiﬁcant contribution to Nigeria’s economic development including Barite, Limestone and many more.
Over 40 million tonnes deposits of talc have been identified in Niger, Osun, Kogi, Ogun and Kaduna states. The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC)’s 3,000 tonnes per annum catalytic plant is the only talc plant in the country. The talc industry represents one of the most versatile sectors of the industrial minerals of the world. The exploitation of the vast deposits would therefore satisfy local demand and that for export.
Gypsum is an important input for the production of cement. It is also used for the production of Plaster of Paris (P.O.P) and classroom chalks. A strategy for large-scale mining of gypsum used in the cement industries is urgently required to sustain the existing plants and meet the future expansion. Currently, cement production is put at 8 million tonnes per annum while the national requirement is 9.6 million tonnes. About one billion tonnes of gypsum deposits are spread over many states in Nigeria.
There are over 3 billion metric tonnes of iron ore in deposits found in Kogi, Enugu and Niger States as well as the Federal Capital Territory. Iron Ore is being mined at Itakpe in Kogi State and is already being beneficiated, up to 67 per cent of iron. The Aladja and Ajaokuta Steel complexes are ready for consumers of billets and other iron products for down-stream industries.
An estimated 10 million tonnes of lead/zinc veins are spread over eight states of Nigeria. Proven reserves in three prospects in the east-central area are 5 million tonnes. Joint venture partners are encouraged to develop and exploit the various lead/zinc deposits all over the country.
Bentonite and Baryte
These are the main constituents of the mud used in the drilling of all types of oil wells. The Nigerian baryte has specific gravity of about 4.3. Over 7.5 million tonnes of baryte have been identified in Taraba and Bauchi States. Large bentonite reserves of 700 million tonnes are available in many states of the federation ready for massive development and exploitation.
There are proven reserves of both alluvial and primary gold in the schist belt of Nigeria located in the south-western part of the country. The deposits are mainly alluvial and are currently being exploited on a small scale. Private investors are invited to stake concessions on these primary deposits.
The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is indicated at about 42 billion tonnes; almost twice the amount of existing reserves of crude petroleum. Analytical results suggest that this potential resource can be used directly as an asphalt binder. Most bitumen used for road construction in Nigeria is currently imported.
Nigerian coal is one of the most bituminous in the world owing to its low sulphur and ash content and therefore the most environment-friendly. There are nearly 3billion tonnes of indicated reserves in 17 identified coal fields and over 600 million tonnes of proven reserves.
The national annual demand for table salt, caustic soda, chlorine, sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide exceeds one million tonnes. A colossal amount of money is expended annually to import these chemicals by chemical and processing companies including tanneries and those in food and beverages, paper and pulp, bottling and oil sector. There are salt springs at Awe (Plateau State), Abakaliki and Uburu (Ebonyi State), while rock salt is available in Benue State. A total reserve of 1.5 million tonnes has been indicated, and further investigations are now being carried out by Government.
Nigeria is enriched in multiple coloured gemstones and is the most important producer of gems in West Africa. Gemstone mining has increased in various parts of Plateau, Kaduna and Bauchi states for years. Sapphires found in these areas are retrieved from secondary deposits of weathered alkali basalts. Good prospects exist in this area for viable investments. The government of Nigeria is seeking to expand its mining enterprise with the aid of international loans and investment.
Gemstones identified for commercial development include: Aquamarine, Tourmaline, Emerald, Sapphire, Garnet, Ruby; and other gems of less value like Topaz, Amethyst, Fluoride, Zircon, Morganite, Iolite, Kunzite and Flourspar which are among the world’s best. Good prospects exist in this area for viable investments.
An estimated reserve of 3 billion tonnes of good kaolinitic clay has been identified in many localities in Nigeria. Lift from page 4 and 5 of Local Sourcing of Raw Materials.
Large deposits of Tantalite are known to occur in Nasarawa, Gombe and Kogi tates as well as the Federal Capital Territory. The deposits ar both alluvial and primary in the numerous pegmatite bodies that infest these ares. Grades of well over 50% Ta2O5 are found. Private investors are invited to stake concessions for the development and exploitation of tantalite in these areas.
In addition to the general incentives for foreign investors in Nigeria, here are some specific to the solid minerals and mining sector:
The holder of a mining lease shall be entitled to: