Authorities at the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development yesterday confirmed the discovery of world class nickel in Kaduna State, by an Australian mining syndicate.
A source was quoted as saying: “Yes it is true. Nickel has been found in Nigeria, but we cannot say anything right now. But be rest assured that a comprehensive report on the matter will be made available by the Ministry today, or as soon as possible.”
Nickel is used in many forms, including electric guitar strings, magnets and rechargeable batteries. It is added to a very important metal, alloy-stainless steel, which has numerous applications. It is used in cookware, cutlery, kitchen appliances and various bronzes and brasses as well as coins among several others.
According to sources, findings revealed that the top ten countries where the mineral is found in tonnage include the Philippines (73,000) , Russia (240,000), Canada (240,000), Australia (234,000), New Caledonia (190,000), Indonesia (170,000), Brazil (110,000) China (102,000), Colombia (73,000) and Cuba (57,000).
Following the discovery, Nigeria is set to join the league of the world’s largest producers as the find is said to offer potential for early cash flow. Nigeria’s current major source of nickel, scrap metals, currently yields an average 2.5 metric tons annually.
The discovery was first reported by an Australian national daily, The Australian, which reported that the private mining syndicate that made the discovery was led by Hugh Morgan, a mining industry veteran.
“The discovery is unusual because the nickel is found in small balls up to 3mm in diameter of a high purity in shallow soils in what could be the surface expression of a much bigger hard-rock nickel field.
“The nickel balls, rumoured to grade better than 90 per cent nickel, and thought to be a world first given their widespread distribution, offer the potential for early cash flow from a simple and low-cost screening operation to fund a full assessment of the find that has exploration circles buzzing,” The Australian reported.
Though the newspaper reported that details of the discovery were sketchy, it indicated that the discovery was on a border town in Kaduna State, close to Dangoma, a small farming settlement about 160 kilometres northeast of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
According to the report, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, is one of 13 African ministers of mines scheduled to attend this year’s three-day Africa Down Under mining conference at Perth’s Pan Pacific Hotel in September.