Nigeria is blessed with abundant mineral resources, which are from time immemorial formed the backbone of the nation’s economic and industrial development aspirations. Prior to independence, the nation’s mineral raw material resources contributed immensely to the export earnings of the nation.
For over three decades, the Country has continued to depend entirely on oil for her revenue and the volatile nature of the oil market has made it imperative for us to diversify the mono-product economy through exploitation and processing of our abundant solid mineral resources. The clamour for resource control being advocated by states with petroleum resources in their domain makes it imperative for us to develop, exploit, process and utilize our solid minerals – particularly Non-metallic Minerals as every part of this country is blessed with one or more solid mineral that could yield substantial revenue for sustainable development.
Exploitation of the Non-metallic Minerals has not attained the desired level, mainly because of the various constraints associated with their exploitation, development and processing for utilization. Many of the non-metallic minerals, which are vital to the industrial take off of the country, have been found in commercial quantities within the country.
They include limestone, dolomite, marble, kaolin, barite, diatomite, feldspar, quartz and silica sands, gypsum, talc, silimanite, kyanite, phosphate, salt and bentonite.
Feldspar is a group of closely related, rock forming alumino-silicate minerals, which contain varying proportions of potassium, sodium and calcium. The word “feldspar” is derived from the Swedish word “fald” meaning field and German word “Spat” which is said to refer to any transparent or translucent material which is readily clearable.
Feldspar is the most abundant of all minerals, comprising over 50% of the earth’s crust. It forms the major constituent of most igneous and metamorphic rocks, as well as arkosic sediments. Commercial feldspar occurs in feldspar rich pegmatite of older granites. Feldspars are valued as raw materials that form a vital input in ceramic, glass, paper, chemical, agricultural, pharmaceutical, paints, plastics and rubber industries.
This report seeks to examine the financial viability or otherwise of mining feldspar rocks in Nigeria.