Nickel discovery in Nigeria “extraordinary” – Australian Mining firm

Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi
Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi

The abundance of native nickel balls recently discovered in Nigeria is “an extraordinary occurrence in a style not known to have been previously documented”, Comet, a private mining syndicate headed by veteran Australian miner, Hugh Morgan, has said.

In a paper distributed at the Africa Down Under Conference which held September 7 – 9 in Perth, Australia, the company said the discovery had “important implications” for nickel exploration worldwide.

The paper was delivered by the Comet team comprising Mr. Morgan, Professor Louisa Lawrence, Stephen Davis, and Steven Pragnell.

The metal named “Titan”, measuring 0.1-5.0 millimetres in diameter and weighing an estimated three weight percent, was found on the southern margin of the Jos Plateau, near the rural villages of Dangoma and Bakin Kogi, Kaduna State.

“Although the bedrock has not been tested at depth, the wide distribution of abundant nickel metal balls and their secondary ferruginous alteration product within residual weathered bedrock at Titan, indicates a highly endowed primary mineralised system,” Comet said.

“To our knowledge, this style of high-grade native nickel metal deposit has not been previously documented.”

PREMIUM TIMES had reported, last month, about the “world class and highly unusual” nickel discovery in Nigeria, ahead of the Perth conference.

Nigeria’s Minister for Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, was among the speakers at the three-day event held at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Australia.

Mohammed Abbas, the permanent secretary at the ministry, said the discovery was made “many months ago” and urged the public to allow the government produce a detailed report.

The Comet team said the metal was identified and exploration commenced in early 2015.

“Pits dug up to six metres deep, at roughly 200 metre centres, show the nickel occurs in a coarse-grained micaceous felsic unit, associated with localised zones of mafic and olivine-rich ultramafic bedrocks”, the team said.

Traces of other metals such as zinc, copper, lead, and cobalt were also detected in the core and rims of the nickel.

The team said ongoing activation of major bedrock structures in the area had resulted in recent tectonic shift and exposure of fresh nickel metal at the surface in an erosional drainage basin at Titan.

“However, the nickel balls are not physically (concentrated) into a heavy mineral fraction within the soil cover sequence due to the low erosional gradient in the catchment and the freshness of the bedrock.

“Furthermore, the exposed metal balls are prevented from significant oxidation due to good drainage and the formation of a protective stable secondary oxide layer on the metal surface.”

The project area spans 20 square kilometres where high concentrations of ferruginous brown balls extend over a half a kilometre to the north and west of the nickel metal occurrence.

“Although the bedrock has not yet been tested at depth, the wide distribution of abundant nickel metal balls and their secondary ferruginous alteration product within residual weathered bedrock at Titan, indicates a large highly endowed primary mineralized system,” Comet said.

“To our knowledge, this style of high-grade native nickel metal has not been previously documented.”

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Comet is currently focusing its exploration on developing a nickel project that targets the native nickel balls in the shallow weathered bedrock over an area of a half square kilometre.

The company is reportedly seeking funding to continue exploration and has approached a few interested parties.

Nickel is primarily sold for first use as a refined metal. About 65 percent of it, consumed in the West, is used to produce stainless steel.

The world’s largest producers of the metal include The Philippines, Indonesia, Russia, Canada, and Australia, according to the US Geological Survey.

Last month, Mr. Fayemi told Bloomberg that one of the Nigerian government’s priorities is to meet its annual steel demand of 6.8 metric tons, from a current output of less than 2.5 metric tons, produced mainly from scrap iron.

“In two to five years, we want to have started production of iron ore, lead, zinc, bitumen, nickel, coal, and gold at a serious scale,” Mr. Fayemi had said.

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  • Watch man

    I hope the minister will be wise enough to get these mining companies to site companies that utilize these minerals right here in Nigeria. They should not just come here and cart away with our minerals only to come back to supply Nigeria with final products to consume.

    • Rumournaire

      It doesn’t work that way. If a company in Japan manufactures steel and nickel is only a component of that steel, it would be a tall order asking the company to come and set up a steel factory in Nigeria. It’s like telling them to set up a factory in every country from where they import any component.

      • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

        You are right.

      • Otile

        Boohoo, our Norther brothers are very naive indeed. Show me the real nickel first.

  • Egbuhuzor Chinomso Collins

    Nigeria should not sell these minerals but use them locally for production.

    • Otile

      Show me the real the mineral first, not this pie in the sky hovering over Northern Nigeria.

  • Peter_Edo

    bro no need to stoke conflict, we have haters from all over Nigeria and great people too from all over. Nigeria will be great again!!! Sai Baba

    • Watch man

      Thanks for that post!

  • Peter_Edo

    just for info, 1 ton of the regular nickel, not our “super nickel” is sold for 10,339.90 USD ours will sell for more, but we should first use it in steel production

  • Floyd

    El-Rufai will only collect 13% derivation. The guy go use styledey support restructuring. But howwill he start?

  • Watch man

    Truth is that every state in Nigeria has one or more precious mineral. Oil has just diverted attention for too long. The earlier the mining start in all states the better for Nigeria.

    • Otile

      Mining for where? This is a noise created to divert attention from the crippling economic depression facing Nigeria right now.

  • Abdulmojeed Nojeemdeen

    We need forex too

  • Rommel

    Some people I know will nearly die from this sweet info,funny how things turn around sometimes

    • Otile

      Until you hold the laps of a woman with your own hands never praise your strong dick, dude.

      • Rommel

        Your language is too pedestrian for me

    • William Norris

      The Dullard should go feed his Zombies dying from mass starvation in Borno & Adamawa

  • Sanssouci

    The mining sector is very promising like so many other sectors of the economy, but there again policies must be geared towards adding maximum value. Exporting anything in its crude state will still maintain u in slavery and poverty whether oil, precious metals or agricultural products. On paper u will read impressive but meaningless statistics like Ivory coast is No1 cocoa producer, Niger is Third Uranium producer etc…. and yet decisions on those commodities take place in switzerland or Japan, countries who have understood that intellectual strength is the way to rule the world. I have great hope because Kaduna that keeps recurring in any news mining has a governor with a brain.

  • Abimbola

    Goodnews from southern Kaduna. I guess this Barkin Kogi is along Zangon Kataf and Lere-Saminaka axis. I knew we’ve always had mineral deposits of precious materials around Anthan and Mailafiya axis also. Its good if we all contribute to the center. It shall be well with Nigeria.

    • bimboab

    • Moses

      No ma, is around kafanchan kaningkon Godogodo axis in Jamaa LGA Kaduna state

      • Abimbola

        Kafanchan Godogodo axis seem odd. I’m more familiar with Gidan Waya – Godogodo – Jagindi axis.

  • Du Covenant

    Very interesting how there is a conspiracy of silence from those who have been insulting the rest of Nigeria because of oil. I hope the demagogues will soon be able to drink their ‘oil’. The mistake that occurred with tin & columbite mining on the Plateau should NEVER be allowed to repeat itself!. Let the spirit of Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna etc live on henceforth!.

    • Otile

      Whatever the case the thieving Fulanis will still tray to invade Niger Delta to steal oil. Oil is indispensable to Nigeria.

      • Rabiu Yakasai

        Victims of ignorance and arrogance have no societal sympathy for the ugly consequences in store

  • Otile

    What happened to those gold mines, when will Nigeria as a whole start feeding from gold like our sweet crude oil? Smh