We are the future,
We are the dream,
We are the nation,
We are part of this.
Yes we are so amazing,
That’s the least we shall be,
At the heart of the nation changing history.
How can they say that we are finished?
We have just begun,
When we have nowhere else to run to,
We have nowhere else to go…..
So get out of the way,
Out of the way,
Of the land of our dreams,
We are the nation we are part of this.
– The Future (TY Bello)
Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of precious and semi-precious stones that can fetch billions of dollars in the world market. However, for a long time now, we have dwelled so much on other resources (especially petroleum) that we have totally ignored the revenue that can be accrued from these gems. When we think of gems and precious stones, our thoughts immediately turn to lavish jewellery; howbeit, they can also be utilized in other fields.
Some of the major gemstones found in Nigeria include:
• Tourmaline: It’s the ‘chameleon’ of the gem world as it has a variety of colours. This is the most popular and most available gemstone found in Nigeria and can be found in Nasarawa, Oyo, Kaduna, Kogi, Taraba, Bauchi, Osun States. It is utilized in the manufacturing of hair care products such as dryers and hair straighteners.
• Sapphire: It’s typically blue in colour, variety of corundum. It can be mined in Mambila Plateau in Taraba State (the sapphire gems found here are available in large rough sizes, some as big as 100 – 300ct), Kaduna State (Antah, Nisama, Gidan waya), Bogoro in Bauchi State, Bokkos in Plateau State and Gunda in Yobe State. They can also be used in the production of timepieces and pens (precious and special pens carry sapphires).
• Aquamarine: It is normally light in colour. It forms in large crystals that can be quite large and totally transparent. It can be found in Akwanga, Nasarawa, Jenta, Igwo, Agwada in Nasarawa State, Ibadan in Oyo, Ijebu Igbo and Igbo Ora in Ogun State; Okene and Isanlu in Kogi State and many parts of Jos, Plateau State.
• Emerald: The most valuable green gemstone – variety of beryl. Famous member of big three (ruby, sapphire, emerald). Its beautiful green colour, combined with durability and rarity, make it one of the most expensive gemstones. They can be sourced from Gwantu in Kaduna and Nasarawa Egon in Nasarawa State.
• Garnet: It is red, but in Nigeria, we have one of the most unique colours: orange and it is called ‘spessartite garnet’ (however, traders often call it ‘fanta’ for intense orange colour) hardness and lack of cleavage makes it an excellent abrasive. They are used in water-jet cutting, sand-blasting, water filtration. It is mined extensively in Jos-Bauchi axis.
• Amethyst: it is the violet variety of quartz. Nigeria’s amethyst is of very high quality and occurs in large quantities. Amethyst is being mined in Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Oyo, Nasarawa.
• Topaz: It has a hardness of 8 on the Moh’s Scale (1 – 10).It is sold in a variety of attractive colours. In Nigeria, we have the famous ‘Imperial Topaz’ which is orange pink. There are large deposits of topaz in Jenta and Akwanga in Nasarawa State, Jos in Plateau, Koi in the Nok area and in many parts of Bauchi and Oyo States.
As a nation, it’s high time we pay more attention to the solid mineral sector and harness all of its potentials in order to improve our economy.
Long live Nigeria!!!
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