Nigeria is abundantly blessed with large deposits of different natural resources, making it one of the luckiest countries in the world in that regard. From the crude oil in the South-South to the gold deposits in Ilesha, there’s almost no natural resource unavailable in the country.
While we’ve established that there are so many natural resources in Nigeria, you may also want to determine what natural resources are abundant in the country, and that’s why this article exists. In this article, we’ll list the most popular natural resources in Nigeria, where you can find them, and how abundant they are.
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List of Natural Resources in Nigeria
The official website of Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs keeps an exhaustive list of the natural resources in Nigeria by their locations. If your goal is to know where to find natural resources in Nigeria, the website is your best bet. However, if you want to know what natural resources are available, here’s a list you’d like.
1. Oil and gas
Nigeria’s abundant deposits of oil and gas are no secret, and there’s barely a Nigerian who doesn’t know it’s one of the country’s most abundant mineral resources. Our oil and gas deposits are so significant that they make up a lion’s share of our national earnings over the past few decades.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria’s proven oil and gas reserves include no less than 23 billion barrels of crude and 160 trillion cubic meters of gas. This valuable natural resource is abundantly available in Ondo, Abia, and all six South-Southern states. The country also recently discovered more petroleum in some Northern states, but they’re yet to be harnessed.
While Nigeria has both alluvial and primary gold deposits, most of the gold available in the country is alluvial and is mostly available in the South-Western part of the country. However, a significant section of the gold mining industry in Nigeria is unsanctioned and small-scale, meaning the country is nowhere near harnessing the full potential of its gold.
Nigeria has large deposits of bitumen, with current analysis indicating it’s around 42 billion tons according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. If that analysis is anywhere near the truth, Nigeria’s bitumen reserves would be twice as much as the country’s petroleum reserves, a fact that’s simply mind-boggling.
Despite Nigeria’s extraordinary bitumen reserves, the country continues to import most of the bitumen it uses for road construction, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s website. This simple realization shows how well (or otherwise) the higher-ups manage the natural resources in Nigeria.
Apart from crude oil and bitumen, coal is probably the most abundant naturally-occurring mineral resource in Nigeria, with current analysis suggesting a deposit of nearly 3.6 billion proven tons of coal around the country.
However, coal mining and usage have practically stopped in the country at the moment, no thanks to the bad press around coal and its impacts on the environment. While Nigeria’s coal is the highly bituminous and environmentally friendly type, it remains to be seen what the country does with it.
5. Iron ore
While Itakpe in Kogi State has the most abundant reserves of iron ore in the country, it’s far from being the only place the natural resource exists in Nigeria. With deposits of over 3 billion metric tons, iron ore is undoubtedly one of the most significant natural resources in Nigeria.
At the moment, some iron ore mining happens at Itakpe in Kogi State, while there are steel companies in Ajaokuta and Aladja for downstream processing of billets and other iron products. Long story short, there’s very little action on the iron ore processing front in Nigeria, but it’s a work in progress.
Limestone is also one of the most abundant natural resources in Nigeria, with most of Nigeria’s deposits located in the South-Western part of the country. The region alone has about 31 million metric tons of limestone, which is being actively harnessed for different purposes.
Limestone is useful for a variety of purposes, including building and construction, and agriculture. The mineral is available in large deposits in Ondo, Ogun, Kaduna, Borno, and Anambra, among several other Nigerian states.
Nigeria’s lead/zinc deposit is an estimated 10 million metric tons spread across the country, but the proven reserves are closer to 5 million metric tons, which is still a significant number. The mineral resource has several potential use cases, but as expected, Nigeria is barely exploiting it.
However, the Nigerian government invites venture partners to develop its lead/zinc deposits countrywide, and with proper management, it can become of the most lucrative natural resources in Nigeria.
Tin is one of those natural resources in Nigeria with fairly limited availability, no thanks to the low effort to investigate and determine the true reserves on the part of the government. The solid mineral is insanely useful, as it has a role in battery production, makes a decent copper alloy, and is essential for soldering.
Plateau is the only state with proven tin reserves yet, but analysts believe the mineral should be available, albeit less abundantly, in neighboring states. If you’re after tin mining in development, there’s a business for you in Nigeria.
While a significant section of Nigeria’s clay deposits is yet to be characterized or harnessed, we do know that this country has clay deposits in billions of tons, making it one of the major natural resources in Nigeria. There’s so much clay in Nigeria that most citizens won’t even believe it’s valuable.
However, clay has continued to prove its value over the years, making it the lead ingredient in pottery, bricks, and floor tiles. It also plays a role in the industrial process of cement production and paper making. Clay is available in sizeable quantities in pretty much every state in Nigeria, and is dirt cheap too!
Bauxite is one of the most abundant solid natural resources in Nigeria that aren’t been tapped to its full potential, probably due to its relative rarity. While experts believe the insanely useful mineral is available in Plateau, Ondo, Anambra, and Ekiti, the only proven reserves sit in Plateau, barely tapped by the Nigerian government or private investors.
Bauxite is essential in manufacturing for the production of aluminum, cement, and ceramics. It’s also an essential ingredient for abrasive blasting and it also makes it possible to attract essential chemicals like aluminum sulfate, alumina, and aluminum hydroxide.
Nigeria spends billions of Naira to import different varieties of salts annually for the gazillion use cases the country’s citizens have for salt, but it also sits on over 1.5 million tons of proven salt reserves, ironically. The rock salt in Benue State and the salt springs in Plateau and Ebonyi produce some of the world’s finest salt, begging the government and private investors to harness them.
While Nigeria’s salt reserves are currently largely unharnessed, the government claims to be making further investigations into the country’s reserves to explore the possibility of mining and producing salt in the country, establishing it as one of the most essential natural resources in Nigeria.
Tantalite isn’t one of the most abundant natural resources in Nigeria, but it’s available in select areas of the country in sizeable amounts. Being the primary source of tantalum, the mineral is pretty popular in the manufacturing and jewelry industry, despite not being very popular among end customers.
Some popular uses of tantalite include making parts for electric devices, forging jewelry, making heat-resistant alloys, and producing different chemical compounds. This natural resource is available in states like the FCT, Osun, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kwara, and Kano.
Marble is also one of the natural resources in Nigeria that appear to be ubiquitously available, despite the country’s unwillingness to pay attention to the valuable mineral resource. It’s extraordinarily concentrated in the Middle Belt, with states like Abuja, Benue, Delta, Edo, and Plateau having significant deposits of marble.
Thanks to the mineral’s striking color, it’s useful for interior decorations, exterior monuments, and table tops. Despite Nigeria’s estimated 230 million tons of marble, only about 500,000 tons are produced annually, which only meets about a quarter of the country’s 4 million tons annual demand.
Granite is unarguably the most common igneous rock on the earth’s surface, and Nigeria happens to have extraordinarily large deposits of this useful natural resource. Thankfully, it’s also one of the few resources being actively harnessed and utilized in Nigeria, thanks to its low barrier to entry.
While most Nigerian states have some granite deposits, it’s more concentrated in South-Western areas like Osun, Ekiti, and Ondo. It’s also abundantly available in Sokoto and Plateau, areas conveniently outside the South West area. Harnessing these deposits of marble will make it one of the best natural resources in Nigeria.
Talc is one of the most useful but underappreciated natural resources in Nigeria, and it has barely seen the attention it deserves. The mineral is used in dusting powders, lubricants, roofing materials, ceramics, paper, you name it.
With deposits totaling over 40 million tons identified in states like Niger, Kaduna, Osun, and Kogi, Nigeria’s natural talc abundance is in no doubt. However, the country has only one catalytic talc plant with a measly capacity of 3,000 tons per annum, clearly not enough to satisfy the country’s high demand. Proper exploitation and processing will no doubt satisfy the local demand, at least, with future export potential.
Natural resources are abundant in Nigeria, but they’re mostly still untapped by the government or even private investors. If you’re into mining and you’re after expansion opportunities, bringing your business to Nigeria mightn’t be a terrible idea after all.
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