4 Natural Resources Buhari Can Explore to Replace Oil
Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari recently shared his administration’s plans to implement economy diversification policies to decrease dependence on the oil and gas sector in 2016.
According to a 2015 report, Nigeria loses about N50 trillion from untapped resources. Although companies are already tapping into agriculture, there are natural resources in the country that are capable of turning the federal government’s plan into reality, if properly explored. In 2010, the Nigeria’s federal government identified commercial deposits of a total of 37 minerals but there has not been a full scale exploration of these minerals, with the exception of Dangote Industries which had plans to begin mining gold, iron ore, coal and lead/zinc in January 2015.
The map below shows the economic activities in different mineral, agricultural and industrial resources in Nigeria.
The following untapped mineral resources are viable options for the Nigerian government to explore:
Felix Bamidele Fatoye lists coal as one of Nigeria’s main natural resources and the country’s oldest commercial fuel. Fatoye observes that coal exploration has experienced a significant drop due to the loss of its traditional customers, who switched from coal to diesel, and natural gas and hydro resources for the generation of electricity. As a result of a major linkage between energy resources, production peaked at near one million tons in 1959, before its current steady decline. Untapped lignite deposit locations with over 50 million tonnes in Nigeria include Oriu in the south-east, through Urnuezeala, Umuahia, Nnewi, Oba, in a 20 to 40km – wide belt across the Niger, to Ogwashi, Asaba, Mgbiigliba and Adiase-Uti in Delta State. Following from this, the country can exploit coal (lignites, sub-bituminous coal and bituminous coal).
Columbite is found in Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Kogi and Nassarawa states. Columbite is a black mineral group, an ore of niobium. It has a submetallic luster and a high density, a niobate of iron and manganese. Columbite ore is used as an alloy of steel to form weldable high speed steel for radio transmitting valves and heat sensitive detective devices. Columbite is a substitute for tantalum, which is often used in the electronics and telecommunications industry, making columbite a valuable resource in these industries. Experts place the Return on Investment (ROI) on columbite ore at 10 to 15 percent.
Borno, Sokoto, Cross River and Benue are a few of the states limestone can be located in Nigeria. Limestone is formed either by direct crystallization from seawater or the accumulation of shell fragments. The average specific gravity of Nigerian limestone varies from 2.70 to 2.86. Limestone is a viable market for the Nigerian government to explore, as it is used for a wide range of purpose by industries. For instance, it can be used in building sculptures and monuments. It can also be used to make paint, tooth paste, detergents, soaps, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, ceramics, asbestos making, industrial adhesives, paper conversion, livestock concentrate, chemical fillers (rubber and plastic products) and steel and iron refinery.
Tin ore can be found in Jos, Plateau state but not on a large scale. About 10,546 tonnes are found in the state, although output is generally low due to the popularity of crude exploration over other resources in the country. Exploration of tin ore in Nigeria can open up the economy because the production of tin oxide is used in paint, paper and ink industries, production of tin oxide resistors, electric lead wires. Experts place the Return on Investment (ROI) in the milling, packaging and export of tin ore at 10 to 30 percent.
Source: Venture Africa