Wednesday, April 2, 2014


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The Nigeria nation is blessed with abundant mineral resources; fossil fuels and solid minerals. The most popular being the fossil fuels since these constitute the nation’s greatest foreign exchange earner. They have, therefore, tended to overshadow the solid mineral sector of mining industry.

The mining industry in Nigeria is regulated by the The Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act of 2007,National Minerals and Metals Policy 2008 and Nigerian Minerals and Mining Regulations 2011.

About 34 minerals deposits have been identified in Nigeria and one of such is Barite Ore.

Barite is the principal ore of barium, which is essential in the formulation of drilling mud. Drilling mud is a mixture of different types of chemicals in water or oil, which is used in water, solid minerals or petroleum drilling.

Baryte is an important weighing ingredient and its usefulness as an addition in drilling mud is that when ground or crushed and added to the fluid, it increases the density of the fluid to counteract formation pressure as well as provide density to the drilling bit for drilling mud in the petroleum industry, The higher the specific gravity of barite, the more useful it is in drilling mud formulation.

The principal application of Barites is as a weighting agent in drilling fluids for the petroleum and natural gas industries. Use of Barites as filler materials in paper, paints, rubber, plastics etc. industries is another potential area. Barites is also used in the production of barium compounds e.g. Barium carbonate which is an important ingredient in the glass industry.

Technological developments in petroleum exploration, introduction of 3D seismic surveying techniques and new drilling techniques had resulted in reduction in barites demand in well drilling. However with increase in number of active rigs and drill rig count in Africa, Europe, Asia, Canada, Russia, India etc. The demand for barites would increase. With growth in other industries in future, the overall demand for barites would increase.

Barytes Deposits in Nigeria

The quality of the Nigerian Barytes is moderate to high. It is often associated with fluorite, calcite, dolomite, quartz, etc. The major impurities are quartz, iron oxide (goethite), and carbonates of iron, calcium and magnesium.

These impurities tend to reduce the specific gravity of the unprocessed barytes which ranges from 3.0 – 4.0 and increase the cost of the processing and wears out mills rapidly.

The goethite and silica impurities can be removed by magnetic and gravity separation. Once processed the specific gravity of the Nigerian baryte increases and meets the 4.20 specified value.

Obtaining Mining Lease in Nigeria

There are two options available to a company or an individual to enter into the mining industry in Nigeria.

Through the acquisition of an existing mining property from the original owner. Approval must be obtained from the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development for such a purchase.

By obtaining on application, either a Prospecting Right (PR), an Exclusive Prospecting Licence (EPL), or a Special Exclusive Prospecting Licence (SEPL), the application should state financial and technical capability qualifying the applicant for entry into the mining sector.

Incentives / Government Policy on Mining in Nigeria

In order to encourage investment in the solid minerals industry in Nigeria, Government is the offering the following incentives

1. 3-5 years Tax Holiday

2. Deferred royalty payments

3. Possible capitalisation of expenditure on exploration and surveys

4. Extension of infrastructure such as roads and electricity to mining sites, and provision of 100% foreign ownership of mining concerns.

The percentage of royalty charged in the mining industry in Nigeria range between 3%- 5%.

Should you require a market research report {Pre-feasibility report, Business Plan or Market Report} on the above subject matter, please do contact the writer.

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