MINERAL RESOURCES IN NIGERIA

Minerals present and mined in Nigeria include:

  1. Petroleum and Crude oil

Petroleum is a sedimentary rock mineral found in Port Harcourt (Rivers State), Warri and Ughelli (both in Delta State), Akwa-Ibom and Imo-State. The first oil well in Nigeria was sunk in Oloibiri, near Port Harcourt. Other oil wells are found in Afam, Ughelli, Warri, Egbema, etc.

Closely associated with petroleum is natural gas, used for cooking. Petroleum is refined by a method called fractional distillation in refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna to provide products like petrol, kerosene, diesel, grease, etc.

Method of Mining Petroleum

The method used in mining petroleum is the drilling method. In this method, the underground rocks are sampled and tested for traces of oil. When the oil is discovered, a well is sunk to reach it with the aid of a drilling rig. The oil is then pumped out mechanically or naturally if the pressure within the oil zone in the soil is high.

In the soil, three layers within the oil zone exist:

  • Natural gas is found on top.
  • Petroleum or crude in the middle.
  • Water at the bottom.

 

  1. Coal

This is another source of power. Coal, like petroleum is a sedimentary rock mineral found in Enugu and Okaba (Benue State). The type of coal in Nigeria is the sub-bituminous grade. Coal is mainly used as a major source of fuel in the home and in railway locomotives in the past.

Methods of Mining Coal

Coal is mined by underground mining or adit method.

  • A tunnel or adit is cut into the coal seam.
  • Explosives are used to dig out the coal.
  • A light rail car hauls the coal from the tunnel to the surface or into lorries from where it is exported to other countries or consumed locally.

 

  1. Iron Ore

Iron Ore is a basement complex rock mineral found in Itakpe (Kogi State) and Aladja (Delta State). Iron Ore is the basis for iron and steel complex. Iron Ore is fed to iron and steel complex in Ajaokuta (Kogi State) and Aladja near Warri (Delta State).

The iron and steel rolling mills are located in Oshogbo (Osun State), Jos (Plateau State) and Kastina (Kastina State).

 

Method of Mining Iron Ore

Iron Ore is mined by the method called Open cast method. The process is as follows:

  • Explosives are used to remove the overburden rocks.
  • A powerful machine called a dragline is then used to pile the iron ore into a heap.
  • A monitor is then used to direct a powerful jet of water towards the heap.
  • The water washes the soil out through a series of sluice boxes.
  • The iron ore sinks to the bottom of the sluice boxes while the water carries the dirt away.
  • The iron concentrate now formed is later sent to the factory for smelting.

 

  1. Tin and Columbite

Tin and Columbite are basement complex rock minerals found near Jos (Plateau State). Tin is used for coating containers in the canning industry while columbite is used in the manufacturing of heat resistant steel used in jet engines. Tin and Columbite occur together naturally.

 

Method of mining Tin and Columbite

Tin and Columbite are mined by a method called Open cast method. The process of mining is as follows:

  • Explosives are used to remove the overburden rocks.
  • A powerful machine called a dragline is then used to pile the tin into a heap.
  • A monitor is then used to direct a strong jet of water towards the heap.
  • The water washes the soil out through a series of sluice boxes.
  • The tin ore sinks to the bottom of the sluice boxes while the water carries the dirt away.
  • The tin concentrate now formed, is later sent to the factory for smelting.

 

  1. Limestone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock mineral found in Ewekoro and Shagamu (Ogun State), Ukpilla (Edo State), Calabar (Cross River State), Nkalagu (Anambra State), Benue and in Sokoto State.

Limestone is an essential raw material for the manufacturing of cement. It should be noted that cement industries are located in all the above areas where limestone is found.

 

Methods of Mining Limestone

Limestone is mined by the method called Quarrying.

  • In this method, the overburdened rocks are scraped off with mechanical excavators in order to reach the limestone.
  • The limestone is then shattered with explosives and scooped out by the excavators into trucks waiting to carry it to the factory.

 

  1. Lead and Zinc

Lead and Zinc are sedimentary rock minerals found in Abakaliki in Enugu State. They are mainly used in industries locally.

 

POWER RESOURCES IN NIGERIA

There are four major sources of power in Nigeria. These are coal, petroleum, natural gas and water. Based on these, power production is grouped into classes:

  • Hydroelectric power (H.E.P): This is the power produced by water. Examples of H.E.P projects in Nigeria are found in Kainji Dam on River Niger and Shiroro Dam on River Kaduna.
  • Thermal power plants: These are giant generators which are fuelled by coal, natural gas or petroleum.

 

PROBLEMS FACING MINING (EXPLOITATION) OF MINERALS

  1. Inadequate capital to exploit the minerals.
  2. Poor transport network.
  3. Outdated topographical maps are used.
  4. Lack of or inadequate trained personnel in mining and exploitation of minerals.
  5. Difficult terrain increases operational costs.
  6. Fluctuations in world prices of minerals.
  7. There are constant conflicts with the local people and the prospecting companies.