Nasarawa state is richly endowed with a variety of solid minerals of various categories ranging from precious metals to various gemstones and also industrial minerals such as barites, gypsum, kaolin and marble. Much of these are yet to be exploited. Statistically, the level of exploitation of these minerals is very low in relation to the extent of deposits found in the state. One of the objectives of this administration is to ensure the orderly exploration and exploitation of the mineral resources of the state.
There are tremendous opportunities for investments in the solid mineral sector and some of the mineral resources that are found in Nasarawa state are yet to be fully exploited. These minerals include among others, coal and tin, iron ore, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc.
High-medium volatile bituminous coals with vitrinite reflectivity in the range of 0.70 to 1.20 per cent occur within the Awgu Formation and widely exposed in outcrops along the bank of River Dep at Shankodi near Jangwa and in the Obi-Agwatashi-Jangerigeri areas. These coal deposits are of the best quality in Nigerian and have been assessed to be suitable for coke making in steel manufacture. The vitrinite reflectance values of the coals (0.70 to 1.20 per cent) also fall within the “oil generation window.” Coal beds are now widely known to be a major source of oil and gas and are becoming increasingly exploration targets for hydrocarbon accumulations in many parts of the world.
Barytes is the chief constituent of lithopone paint and it is also extensively used as an inert volume and weight filler in drilling mud, rubber, glass, paper and in the chemical industry. Veins of barytes up to 1.8m wide and more than a kilometer long are associated with lead-zinc lodes in many parts of Nasarawa State. The principal known occurrences are at Azara, Aloshi, Akiri, Wuse and Keana. Reserves of about 100,000 tonnes of good quality barytes have been discovered in Azara by the Nigerian Mining Corporation.
LEAD AND ZINC
Lead is used in the manufacture of cable coverings, pigments and storage batteries. Other uses of zinc include galvanizing steel plate, the manufacture of brass and other alloys, rubber vulcanizing, and the production of pigments and certain medicines and chemicals. Lead and zinc deposits occur within the sedimentary successions at Arufu, Akwana, Azara, Keana and Awe.
Precious metals are a valuable source of foreign exchange and their exploitation in a large scale can also promote the establishment of other ancillary industries in Nasarawa state. In Nasarawa State, some quantities of gold deposits occur in pegmatite-quartz veins within Precambrian basement rocks in Wamba. The Metasedimentary rocks in Toto, Udegbe, Gadabuke, Laminga and Nasarawa are also contains some gold deposits with mode of occurrence similar to those in Schist Belts.
Like the precious metals, gemstones can be an important source of income for Nasarawa state. There are varieties of gemstones and the important ones in terms of quantity are aquamarine, emeralds, sapphire, ruby, topaz, tourmaline, zircon and almandine. Most of the gemstones occur in pegmatites and quartz veins in rocks of the Basement Complex and Younger Granites in Nasarawa State.
Investors are enjoined to take advantage of these available solid mineral resources for exploration and investment in partnership with the State Government.
The sediments generally comprise of sandstones, siltstones and subordinates inter-bedded clays all of cretaceous age. Alluvial soils are found along the flood plains which are always swampy in nature due to availability of water all the year round. The forest soils are rich in humus and laterite soils. They are found in most parts of the State and very good for crop production.