What Nickel Means To Dangoma, Nigeria | Independent Newspapers Limited
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What Nickel Means To Dangoma, Nigeria

Nickel, dangoma
Posted: Sep 7, 2016 at 4:54 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

On Monday August 29, the media space was awash with the news that Nickel, a mineral with the potential to change the face of Nigeria’s economy had been discovered in Dangoma, a small farming community North-West of Kaduna State.

To many, this was another attempt to launder the image of the current government, especially as the living condition in the country continues to bite harder on the people in the face of economic recession. The reality of the discovery, however, became obvious a few days ago with formal announcements by the government confirming the presence of the mineral, which is currently produced in largest quantities in The Philippines, Indonesia, Russia, Canada and Australia.

This discovery of Nickel deposit reportedly by a team of private miners headed by one Hugh Morgan, an Australian mining industry veteran, may have ripped the unknown community located within less than two hours drive from Kaduna, the capital of Kaduna State, of its innocence.

A report by Australian national news daily, The Australian, as monitored in Nigeria, stated that, “The nickel balls, rumoured to grade better than 90 per cent 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.”

According to the Newspapers, the discovery is unusual because the nickel is found in small balls up to 3 millimeter (mm) in diameter of a high purity in shallow soils in what it says “could be the surface expression of a much bigger hard-rock nickel field.”

The discovery was authenticated at the weekend by the Nigerian Government, through a press statement issued at by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Solid Minerals, Mohammed Abbas, who said: “The Ministry of Solid Ministry of Solid Minerals Development is aware of the excitement in the media about the discovery of nickel in parts of Kaduna State.”

According to Abbas, this is totally understandable considering the partial assay of the mineral assets referenced.

Giving further details, the Permanent Secretary said, “The ministry is aware of the occurrence of the mineral in the area. Since the discovery many months ago, technical experts from the ministry have been following up on this development as provided by law.”

On a cautious note, he urged for patience from the public, pleading with people should allow the ministry to come up with detailed reports on the finding.

Further reports have also shown that Nigeria’s Minister for Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, may be making a formal announcement on the Nickel discovery in Dangoma on September 7 in far away Australia, where he would be participating as speakers in a three-day conference on mining in Africa.

Fayemi has been scheduled to speak first today (Wednesday), after which the leader discoverer of Nickel in Nigeria, Morgan would speak.

Nickel has been found to be used in the production of many industrial and consumer products, like rechargeable batteries, electric guitar strings, stainless steel, microphone capsules, plating on plumbing fixture, coinage, for plating and as a green tint in glass.

As of September 19, 2013, the metal reportedly traded for $13,778/tonne. Although the market price of nickel has surged throughout 2006 and the early months of 2007, trading at US$52,300/tonne as of April, 2007, the price fell dramatically afterwards. This has, however, not taken away the huge economic value it brings.

It is apparent recognition of this that the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-rufa’i of Kaduna, has visited Dangoma village with a message of assurances and promises to community.

There, the governors who was represented by the Kaduna State Commissioner of Environment, congratulated the community and expressed his readiness to provide the inhabitants with the requisite social facilities needed to make realise the potential.

A step further, the commissioner took samples of the nickel from the community, urging them to live in peace with one another for the development of the area, the state and the country at large.

His caution is not out of place, as the discovery of similar kinds of mineral deposits and other natural resources have become the subject of conflicts in many communities across the country and the world.

For Dangoma, the innocence is lost. Would it be like the case of Oloibiri, the squalid Niger Delta community where the oil was first discovered in commercial quantity, or has enough lessons been learnt about how to make the natural resources of a place count for the people and the country at large? The answers lie with time.

Meanwhile, experts have said that as Nigeria looks to generate 50% of her power from renewable energy by 2020, nickel sulphate, nickel nitrate and nickel hydroxide which are nickel compounds used in producing batteries used to store renewable energy, can be utilized for the production of the commodities or export to countries requiring these materials.

This is as nickel compounds are also projected to be used by 80% of SMEs as they have an investment cycle of 20-25 years.