There are over 40 types of natural resources in Nigeria that aids the country’s economic growth. Natural resources are materials and substances that exist naturally and are harvested for economic gain. These resources can also be classified into two – renewable and non-renewable.
Renewable Natural Resources
Renewable resources are agricultural products such as animals and plants while non-renewable are minerals, soils and fossil fuels. Renewable resources are produced in very limited amounts and can take years to regrow which is why they are valued most.
However, this article shall only focus on the non-renewable natural resources and where they can be found across all 36 states of Nigeria.
Non-Renewable Natural Resources in Nigeria
These are “hot cake” mineral resources due to high demand in the global market. Here is a list of the main non-renewable natural resources in Nigeria:
1. Crude Oil
This is the main source of income for the Nigerian economy. Crude oil was first discovered in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, in 1959. Nowadays, about 2.5 million barrels of oil are produced daily in Nigeria. Nigeria has the largest crude oil deposit in Africa and fourth in the world. It is the sixth-largest producer and fifth-largest supplier. Nigeria is also the largest producer of sweet oil in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
The Nigerian grade of oil is described as light due to its relatively low density. It is regarded as sweet due to its low sulphur content known as Bonny Light Crude Oil (BLCO). This type of oil can be found in the South-South, Rivers State and some parts of the South-East areas such as Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Imo states as well as Ondo State in the South-West.
Coal is another fossil fuel and an alternative source of generating electricity. It is a non-renewable mineral resource formed from the remains of dead animals and plants thousands of years ago. Coal was originally discovered in 1909 and more were discovered at the Ogubate mine in 1918.
Nigerian coal is rated very high due to its low amount of sulphur and ash which makes it friendly to the environment. There are about three billion tons of coal preserved in 17 fields. Enugu State was accurately named “Coal City” because of its vast coal deposits. Other states include Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Bauchi, Delta, Edo, Kwara, Kogi, Imo and Plateau.
Gemstones are highly valued mineral resources globally. Nigeria is abundantly blessed with them. Amethyst, aquamarine, diamond, emerald, garnet, ruby, sapphire, topaz, Kyanite, tourmaline, zircon, turquoise, labradorite, benitoite, and ammolite are examples of the gemstones in Nigeria. Gemstones are found in Bauchi, Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Plateau states.
Clay is one of the oldest mineral resources and building materials in Nigeria. It is also used to make pottery, ceramics, tiles, fire bricks, etc. Almost all states in Nigeria have clay. The major deposits are, however, located in Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Sokoto.
5. Iron Ore
Deposits of iron ore are usually found in sedimentary rocks. The purest iron ore in Nigeria is found in Itapke, Kogi State. Other locations are Abia, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Kwara, Nasarawa and Plateau states.
There are only two companies that produce steel from iron ore and they are located in Aladja, Delta and Ajaokuta, Kogi State. Both companies are currently not working.
6. Lead and Zinc
There are an estimated 10 million tons of lead and zinc in Nigeria. The South-East has a major deposit with about 5 million tons. Their locations are Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Niger, Kano, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara.
Cross River and Ebonyi states are major locations where limestone is produced in commercial quantities. Limestone is processed and quarried by construction companies. Other locations where it can be found are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Ogun, Ondo, and Sokoto.
One of the most common mineral resources in Nigeria and in the world. Salt is used for cooking, preservation and healthcare. Rock Salt is one of the most valuable mineral resources. It is a combination of table salt, caustic soda, chlorine and hydrogen peroxide.
Ebonyi State also known as the “Salt of the Nation” has the largest deposit in Nigeria. Other locations include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Imo, Katsina and Sokoto states.
Granites can be found in all states of the federation. They are also known as gravel/chippings. But the largest deposits are located in FCT Abuja, Cross River and Ekiti. Other locations are Ebonyi, Enugu, Kogi, Nasarawa, Ogun, Osun, Oyo and Plateau.
Copper ore or copper concentrate is one of the mineral resources that are readily available in mostly the Northern part of Nigeria like Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Nasarawa and Zamfara states. Abia State is also believed to have some deposits of copper.
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11. Tin Ore
Tin is a very valuable mineral resource that is used for various purposes such as tin-plating, tin-chemicals, lead-acid batteries, copper alloys and solders. William Wallace first discovered it in Nigeria in 1884. It can be found in Abuja, Bauchi and Plateau states.
Gold production in Nigeria began in 1913 and climaxed in the 1930s. Production declined during and after World War II. Gold deposits are predominantly found in Iperindo in Osun State, Malele, Gurmana, Okolom-Dogondaji, Anka, Bin Yauri, Maru, and Tsohon Birnin Gwari-Kwaga.
Other locations where small traces of gold can be found are Abia, Abuja, Bauchi, Cross River, Edo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Osun, Oyo, Sokoto, and Zamfara states.
Nigeria has sparse deposits of silver. They are mostly located in the North such as Kano and Taraba states. Ebonyi State also has some traces of silver.
14. Barite and Bentonite
These are a primary substitute for the mud which is used for oil well drilling. It is understood that Nigeria has about 700 million tons of bentonite in Adamawa, Borno and Plateau states. 7.5 million tons of barite can also be found in Bauchi and Taraba states.
Talc is mostly found deep within metamorphic rocks. It has a greasy feel and comes in white, grey and pale colours. Magnesium, oxygen, and silicon elements are the major components of Talc. This soft mineral resource is located in Ekiti, Kaduna, Kogi, Osun, Oyo, Nasarawa, Niger and Yobe states.
Have you watched the movie, Black Panther? It is a story of a prince from a hidden, highly advanced African kingdom thanks to a rich deposit of uranium.
Nigeria has uranium in abundance which can boost the nation’s economy and technology. Uranium can be found in Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Cross River, Kano, Plateau and Taraba states.
Gypsum was first discovered and evaluated in Nigeria in 1921. It is a soft, white-greyish (pure form) mineral resource that is mostly found in sedimentary rocks. Gypsum comes in a variety of colours such as reddish-brown, pink, brown, blue, tan, and yellow (impure form). Adamawa, Anambra, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Sokoto states have large deposits of this mineral.
Bitumen was first discovered in Nigeria in 1900. It is one of the popular mineral resources which contains oil. Production of bitumen has contributed immensely to the Nigerian economy with over 13 billion barrels. The hydrocarbon can be found in oil sands or acquired as a residue in the crude oil distillation process. Bitumen can be located in Edo, Ogun, Ondo and Lagos states.
Both dolomite and limestone have similarities in terms of exposure to pressure and heat. It is also formed from sedimentary rock. Dolomite is located in FCT Abuja, Edo (Akoko and Ikpeshi), Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Oyo and Yobe states.
20. Tar Sands
Also known as oil sands, Tar sands are black, heavy, sticky oil that develops from a mixture of sand, clay, bitumen, and water. They are highly valuable and predominantly located in Abia, Edo and Ondo states.
Nigeria’s diverse mineral resources are unlimited. Unfortunately, all attention has been given to crude oil which in recent times can no longer sustain the economy. As Nigerians groan under the burden of economic hardship, the government may want to look at other available natural resources at the country’s disposal and create a sustainable approach to utilize them responsibly.