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.
Kaolin is an important and widely used industrial mineral which is refined from Kaolinite. It is a naturally – occurring mineral of the clay family and may contain a number of impurities such as quartz, feldspar, tourmaline, ilmenite, zircon, etc, which were derived from the parent rock. It is a weathering product of silicate rocks which is whitish, earthy to dull with plastic touch. The characteristics and chemical composition of a kaolin deposit usually determines its industrial utilization.
The bulk of the Kaolinitic clay deposits in the country are either sedimentary or residual in origin and are usually associated with granitic rocks. Occurrences of kaolin have been recorded in different parts of the country and specific abundant deposits have been identified in parts of Enugu, Anambra, Kaduna, Katsina, Plateau, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo, Bauchi, Sokoto, and Borno States. Of these reserves, about 800 million tons of probable/proven deposits have been quantified.
Kaolin is one of the most valuable of the industrial clays which is used in most manufactured products. Prominent uses include paper filling and coating; paint, plastic, adhesive and ink pigment; rubber reinforcing agent; ceramic raw materials for porcelain, dinnerware, tiles and enamels; catalyst for petroleum cracking and auto exhaust emission catalytic control devices; cosmetics base; and digestive coating remedy.
This report seeks to examine the financial viability or otherwise of mining crude kaolin in Nigeria.
The business entails using mechanized method of mining to produce three hundred (300) tons per day of crude kaolin. The mining equipment required for operation are pay loader, dumper water pumping machine, weighing scale and project vehicle. The pay loader and dumper would be hired and while the water pumping machine and project vehicle would be purchased.