Nigeria: The Federal Government of Nigeria launched the field procedures manual for the Geochemical Mapping of Nigeria, which is expected to help boost mineral exploration and agricultural activities in the country.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Musa Mohammed Sada, said that the launch of the Geochemical Mapping Manual was coming at the heels of the completion of total Airborne Geophysical Survey coverage of the Nigeria landmass, with the completion of the Niger Delta magnetic and gravimetric parameters measuring last week. Further, he explained that the concept of regional geochemical mapping was to generate high quality environmental geochemical baseline data from sampling of stream water, stream sediments and residual soil. According to him, the exercise will establish the relationship between health and element deficiencies in the environment and the relationship between elements in environment and agriculture.
The new programme under the Nigerian Geochemical Mapping Technical Assistance Project (GMTAP) of the World Bank was undertaken by the Nigeria Geological Survey Agency (NGSA), in collaboration with the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK).
He noted that the geochemical mapping is a long established method for mineral exploration where water and sediment samples are taken and analysed for anomalies, the results of which are indicators for further mineral exploration.
He noted that by its nature, the mining industry has capacity for both backward and forward linkages that can generate employment, create wealth and facilitate poverty reduction, adding that, “Sustainable mineral exploration is also critical to the development of our rural communities and production of feedstock (industrial minerals) for local consumption.”
Explaining further, the Project Manager in the British Geological Survey, Mr. Roger Key, noted that a national geochemical map will encourage mineral exploration by assisting artisanal miners and attracting larger mineral exploration companies to diversify Nigeria’s mineral sector
“It will assist the agricultural sector by identifying areas with high concentrations of elements such as potassium that indicate fertile soils. It will identify potential health hazards in Nigeria’s natural environment, such as high concentrations of toxic elements including arsenic and lead as well as provide high quality scientific data for research at Nigeria’s academic institutes into Nigeria’s natural environment, such as urban pollution studies.
Roger further noted that the geochemical mapping of the whole of country could be completed in 5 years. “If this is achieved, Nigeria would be one of the first countries in the world to have both complete national high-resolution airborne geophysical coverage as well as high quality national geochemical coverage. This will make Nigeria an attractive country for modern mineral exploration.”