The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development on Monday confirmed the discovery of Nickel in parts of Kaduna State in North-West Nigeria.

Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Abbas, said the ministry had been following up on the report by its technical experts since the first discovery was made several months ago.

“The Ministry is aware of the occurrence of the mineral in parts of Kaduna State,” the statement said. “Since the first discovery many months ago, technical experts from the ministry have been following up on this development as provided by law.

The ministry urged Nigerians to allow government come up with detailed reports on the new find towards its development.

The statement confirmed a report by PREMIUM TIMES that a private mining syndicate had discovered nickel in Nigeria.

The private mining syndicate headed by Hugh Morgan, a mining industry veteran, described the discovery as unusual since it was found in small balls of about three millimeters in diameter and of a high purity in shallow soils, indicative of the existence of a larger hard-rock Nickel field in the area.

The discovery was said to be around Dangoma, a small farming town about 160 kilometres northeast of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. The community also borders Kaduna state to the west.

Nickel could potentially be a high foreign exchange earner for Nigeria, particularly at a time the country’s economy was facing the blight of declining global crude oil prices.

Nickel is sold primarily for first use as refined metal in manufacturing of many other alloys, while about 65 per cent of it is consumed in the West, used for the production of stainless steel products.

Nigeria could join some of the world’s largest producers of Nickel, which include Philippines, Indonesia, Russia, Canada, and Australia, according to the US Geological Survey.

At the moment, Nigeria’s current output of Nickel is below 2.5 metric tons per annum, produced mainly from scrap irons.

The discovery of the mineral in large volume could see the country’s production capacity increased significantly, as government has already shown commitment to raise its capacity to meet the country’s annual steel demand of 6.8 metric tons, Mr. Fayemi told Bloomberg recently.