Firm Discovers ‘World Class, Highly Unusual’ Nickel In Nigeria | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Firm Discovers ‘World Class, Highly Unusual’ Nickel In Nigeria

nickel steel
Posted: Aug 30, 2016 at 4:34 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

A private syndicate headed by mining industry veteran, Hugh Morgan, has made a potentially “world class, and highly unusual”, nickel discovery in Dangoma, Kaduna State, The Australian, an Australian newspaper, said on August 29.

The discovery, according to The Australian, “is unusual because the nickel is found in small balls up to 3mm in diameter of a high purity in shallow soils in what could be the surface expression of a much bigger hard-rock nickel field”.

It said the nickel balls, rumoured to grade better than 90 percent nickel and thought to be a world first given their widespread distribution offer the potential for early cash flow from a simple and low-cost screening operation to fund a full assessment of the find that has exploration circles buzzing.

“Details on the find are sketchy. When asked to comment last week, Hugh Morgan would only say it was for the Nigerian government to make an announcement.

Nickel is no stranger to the Liberal Party bulwark and former Reserve Bank board member. Between 1990 and 2003 he was chief executive of Western Mining Corporation (taken over by BHP Billiton in 2005) when it was Australia’s biggest nickel producer”, The Australian noted.

What is known is that Kayode Fayemi, Minister for Solid Minerals, is listed to speak at the three-day Africa Down Under mining conference at Perth’s Pan Pacific Hotel next month, with past conferences drawing bumper crowds.

“Fayemi is to speak first on Wednesday, September 7, and Morgan will follow along with consulting geologist, Louisa Lawrance. Morgan is listed as speaking as a director of the private company, Comet Minerals”, it stated.

The discovery, Titan, is rumoured to be close to Dangoma, a small farming town about 160km Northeast of Abuja.

Fayemi is one of 13 African mines ministers to attend this year’s Africa Down Under, reflecting the importance African nations place on attracting Australian mining expertise and funding for mining.

The Federal Government of Nigeria itself has a stated ambition to grow its mining sector as an offset to its dependence on the oil industry, which has been ravaged by the slump in oil prices.

It has said it wants to attract billions of dollars of new investment in the sector, a push that could benefit from likely international interest in the Titan find by Morgan’s private syndicate.

Earlier this month, Fayemi told Bloomberg that about $US5 billion would “kick-start the mining sector”.

“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,” he said.

Nickel is extensively used for making stainless steel and other corrosion-resistant alloys such as Invar, Monel, Inconel, and the Hastelloys. Tubing made of copper-nickel alloy is extensively used in making desalination plants for converting sea water into fresh water.

Nickel is also used extensively to make coins and nickel steel for armor plates and burglar-proof vaults, and is also a component in Nichrome, Permalloy, and constantan.

It gives glass a greenish colour. Nickel plating is often used to provide a protective coating for other metals, and finely divided nickel is a catalyst for hydrogenating vegetable oils. It is also used in ceramics, in the manufacture of Alnico magnets, and in the Edison storage battery.

Nickel-containing materials play a major role in our everyday lives – food preparation equipment, mobile phones, medical equipment, transport, buildings, power generation – the list is almost endless. They are selected because – compared with other materials – they offer better corrosion resistance, better toughness, better strength at high and low temperatures, and a range of special magnetic and electronic properties.

Nickel benchmark futures have risen 13.3 percent in the last one year, figuring as the strongest commodity performer this year, according to Clyde Russell, Asia Commodity Analyst with Reuters.

He said the bulk of that rally has come in the past three months as new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his hard-line environment secretary Regina Lopez cracked down on alleged environmental abuses by the mining industry.

To underscore the precious metal’s flight trajectory in India on Monday, August 29, Nickel futures edged higher by 0.42 percent to Rs 666.60 per kg in futures trade as participants built up fresh positions, driven by uptick in demand from consuming industries at the spot market, according to a report in Business Standard of India.

At the Multi Commodity Exchange, nickel for delivery in September rose by Rs 2.80, or 0.42 percent to Rs 666.60 per kg in a business turnover of 431 lots.

Similarly, the metal for delivery in August contracts edged up by Rs 2.50, or 0.38 per cent to Rs 659.30 per kg in 2,238 lots.

Analysts said fresh positions created by traders due to pick-up in demand from alloy-makers at the spot market mainly influenced nickel prices at futures trade.

The Philippines, Indonesia, Russia, Canada and Australia are the world’s largest producers of nickel as reported by the US Geological Survey. The largest deposits of nickel in non-Russian Europe are located in Finland and Greece.

“Nigeria has good deposits of most of the economically useful minerals. So the discovery is only an addition to the list. What is important is that the solid mineral sector should take off based on a sensible business model that ensures that Nigeria will not remain a mere producer of primary commodities but is able to add value”, said Olawale Ajai, Professor of Legal, Social & Political Environment of Business, Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University.

He told Independent that secondly, the Federal Government must strike good deals with the key traders just like Botswana did with De Beers, “provided the proverbial corrupt self/ethnic interests are subordinated to national interests, Nigeria will readily and quickly diversify its economy.”

Ajai noted that production and merit will have to be promoted against consumption and cronyism that seems to be the order of the day.

“There may be need for altering the constitutional arrangements over ownership of minerals to reserve more rights to individuals, communities and state/local government areas but this is a more long term issue that should accompany any holistic consideration of reforms of the structure of the polity”, he noted.


Comments (1)

  • Aug 31, 2016 at 10:57 pm Aliko Dangote say baba


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