The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) had identified thirty-four minerals of economic importance in Nigeria across the six regional mining zones. Every state, apart from Bayelsa is said to contain areas of mineral wealth. Within the minerals, Government has highlighted a number of strategic minerals that have the potential to contribute significantly to Nigeria’s economic development. These include tungsten, barite, gold, bitumen, iron ore, lead/zinc, coal and limestone.
The metals sector in Nigeria today is yet to reach its full potential particularly in the development and consumption of key metallic products as iron, tantalite, copper, aluminium, tin, lead, zinc etc. and in exploitation of key noble metals such as gold and silver. With the nation’s capacity, potential and resource base, all these products can readily be developed and used to jump start the rapid industrialization and economic growth of the economy.
The new metals policy is predicated upon the need to develop a vibrant metals sector where government will play the role of administrator-regulator with the private sector as owner-operator and would enable Nigeria become a major regional and global producer of mineral products.
One of such minerals that can be developed for the growth of the country is tantalite. 14,223 tonnes of which are found in Plateau State.
Tantalite is an important component employed in the production of tantalum based capacitors and alloys for strength and higher melting point, in glass to increase the index of refraction and in surgical steel as it is non – reactive and non-irritating to body tissue.
With the improvement of international economic climate, the demand for tantalite is large, growing and sustainable.
This report seeks to examine the financial viability or otherwise of mining 150 tons of tantalite ore of 1% monthly and processing same into tantalite ore of 60%. Processing and separation of the tantalite would be done in any of the processing plant stated in the body of the report.
The business would entail using mechanized method of mining to produce 300 tons bi-monthly of 1% tantalite ore in which minimum of 3 tons of 60% tantalite ore would be extracted.
In the above projections 100 tons of rocks with 1 % tantalite content will give 1 tons of pure 100% tantalite but putting recoveries and loss of material during processing and to allow for low expectations associated with mineral processing, we would use one (1) ton of 60% grade of tantalite ore in our estimates. Possibilities are there that we might be able to achieve more than 1 tons.