Top officials at the ministry, who confirmed the development in separate telephone chats with LEADERSHIP, on Monday night, said a more comprehensive report would be made available by the Ministry today.
One of the sources, who craved anonymity as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said: "Yes it is true. Nickel has been found in Nigeria, but we cannot say anything right now. But be rest assured that a comprehensive report on the matter will be made available by the Ministry today, or as soon as possible."
Nickel is a silvery-white metal with a shiny surface common to most metals, and is ductile and capable of being drawn into thin wires. The name is said to come from the German word Kupfernickel, meaning "Old Nick's copper," a term used by German miners. It is also said to be one of three naturally occurring elements that is strongly magnetic. The other two are iron and cobalt, but nickel is less magnetic than either iron or cobalt.
Nickel is used in many forms, including electric guitar strings, magnets and rechargeable batteries. It is added to a very important metal, alloy-stainless steel, which has numerous applications. It is used in cookware, cutlery, kitchen appliances and various bronzes and brasses as well as coins among several others.
LEADERSHIP findings revealed that the top ten countries where the mineral is found in tonnage include the Philippines (73,000) , Russia (240,000), Canada (240,000), Australia (234,000), New Caledonia (190,000), Indonesia (170,000), Brazil (110,000) China (102,000), Colombia (73,000) and Cuba (57,000).
Following the discovery, Nigeria is set to join the league of the world's largest producers as the find is said to offer potential for early cash flow. Nigeria's current major source of nickel, scrap metals, currently yields an average 2.5 metric tons annually.
The discovery was first reported by an Australian national daily, The Australian, which reported that the private mining syndicate that made the discovery was led by Hugh Morgan, a mining industry veteran.
"The discovery 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.
"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 to fund a full assessment of the find that has exploration circles buzzing," The Australian reported.
Though the newspaper reported that details of the discovery were sketchy, it indicated that the discovery was on a border town in Kaduna State, close to Dangoma, a small farming settlement about 160 kilometres northeast of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
According to the report, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, is one of 13 African ministers of mines scheduled to attend this year's three-day Africa Down Under mining conference at Perth's Pan Pacific Hotel in September.
Can Generate N5trn Annually From Mining – Fayemi
Mean while, Fayemi has said that the analysis conducted by major stakeholders in the solid minerals sector, the Association of Metal Exporters of Nigeria, indicates that Nigeria can generate at least N5 trillion annually from mining and exporting of its vast solid mineral deposits.
He stated this in his keynote address at the opening of the 5th International Mining Investment Conference/Exhibition on Nigeria, which started in Abuja yesterday, with the theme, 'Connecting the Global Mining Industry to the Opportunities of the Solid Minerals Sector in Nigeria.
Read More from source: http://www.leadership.ng/news/548352/nigeria-confirms-nickel-discovery-in-kaduna