Solid Minerals In Nigeria; An Overview 2

Solid minerals

GOLD is used in dentistry and medicine, jewelry and arts, medallions and coins and in ingots. It is also used for scientific and electronic instruments, computer circuitry, as an electrolyte in the electroplating industry and in many applications for the aerospace industry.

GRANITE can be cut into large blocks and used as a building stone. When polished, it is used for monuments, headstones, countertops, statues and facing on buildings. It is also suitable for railroad ballast and for road aggregate in highway construction.
GYPSUM Processed gypsum is used in industrial or building plaster, pre-fabricated wallboard, cement manufacture and agriculture.

IRON ORE is used in the manufacture of steel of various types and other metallurgical products such as magnets, auto parts and catalysts. Most United States production is from Minnesota and Michigan. The Earth’s crust contains about 5% iron, the fourth most abundant element in the crust.

KAOLIN or China Clay is mainly of kaolinite with its fine particles dispersing quickly in water making it useful as a pigment. It is used in the paper industry, as china ware, paint, rubber, cable insulation, specialty films and fertilizers.

LEAD is used in batteries, construction, ammunition, television tubes, nuclear shielding, ceramics, weights and tubes or containers. The Unite States is the largest producer (mainly from Missouri), consumer and recycler of lead metal.

LIMESTONE “A sedimentary rock consisting largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which have the same composition CaCO3”. Limestone, along with dolomite is one of the basic building blocks of the construction industry. Limestone is used as aggregate, building stone, cement, lime and in fluxes, glass, refractories, fillers, abrasives, soil conditioners and a host of chemical processes.

LITHIUM Batteries made from lithium metal or lithium carbonate are used in smoke alarms, pacemakers, defibrillator machines, many other types of portable medical equipment and in emergency communication equipment including computers and cell phones.

MAGNETITE an iron ore occurring in a variety of igneous rocks, it is used in the manufacture of heavy concrete, water filtration, coal mining, landscaping and production of certain iron-based chemicals.

MANGANESE Manganese is essential to iron and steel production. Manganese is obtained from the ore minerals, Braunite(Mn, Si2O3, Pyrolusite (MnO2) and Psilomelane (BaMn9O18*2H2O.

MARBLE A non-foliated metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. It is commonly used for sculpture and as a building material.
MICA minerals commonly occur as flakes, scales or shreds. Sheet muscovite (white) mica is used in electronic insulators, paints, as joint cement, as a dusting agent, in well drilling mud and lubricants, in plastics, roofing, rubber and welding rods.

MOLYBDENUM is used in stainless steels (21%), tool steels (9%), cast irons (7%), chemical lubricants (8%) and other applications (55%). It is commonly used to make automotive parts, construction equipment, gas transmission pipes. As a pure metal, molybdenum is used as filament support in light bulbs, metalworking dies and furnace parts because of its high melting temperature (2,6230C).

PHOSPHATE ROCK Primarily, a sedimentary rock used to produce phosphoric acid and ammoniated phosphate fertilizers, feed additives for livestock, elemental phosphorous and a variety of phosphate chemicals for industrial and home consumers. The majority of the United States production comes from Florida, North Carolina, Idaho and Utah.

QUARTZ Quartz crystals are popular as semi-precious stone. Crystalline varieties include amethyst, citrine, rose quartz and smoky quartz. Because of its piezoelectric properties (the ability to generate electricity under mechanical stress), quartz us used for pressure gauges, oscillators, resonators and wave stabilizers. Quartz is also used in the manufacture of glass, paints, abrasives, refractories and precision instruments.

RUTILE is a common mineral, titanium dioxide, TiO2, usually reddish-brown in color with a brilliant metallic lustre, occurring in crystals used in coating welding rods.

SANDSTONE Sandstone is used as a building stone, road bases and coverings, construction fill, concrete, railroad ballast, snow and ice control.

SILVER is used in photography, chemistry, electrical and electronic products (because of its very high electrical conductivity), fine silverware, electroplated wire, jewelry, coins, brazing alloys and solders.

TALC The primary use for talc is in the production of paper, ground talc is used as filler in ceramics, paint, paper, roofing, plastics, cosmetics and in agriculture. Talc is found in many common household products such as baby (talcum) powder, deodorant and make-up. Very pure talc is used in fine arts and is called soapstone. It is often used to carve figurines.

TIN is used in the manufacture of cans and containers, electrical equipment and chemicals.

WOLFRAMITE Highly valued as the main source of the metal, Tungsten, a strong and quiet dense material with a high melting temperature used for electric filaments and armor-piercing ammunition as well as hard tungsten carbide machine tools.

ZINC is used as protective coating on steel, as die casting, as an alloying metal with copper to make brass and as chemical compounds in rubber and paint. Additional uses include galvanizing iron, electroplating, metal spraying, automotive parts, electrical fuses, anodes, dry-cell batteries, nutrition, chemicals, roof gutters, cable wrapping and pennies. Zinc oxide is used in medicine, paints, vulcanizing rubber and sun-block lotions.

It is hoped that concerned states will seize the opportunity of the moment to rev up their internally generated revenue by either attracting mining companies to the states or jointly venturing into the business of mining and mineral processing in their respective domains. For the financial health of the various states endowed with these resources, this is a call to action!
Kayode Adeoye is an energy expert from Lagos.

1 Comment
  • Akin Aina

    Which one of the above solid minerals are available in commercial quantities that can bring in foreign exchange for Nigeria if properly explored