Natural resources are substances obtained from the planet that are used to sustain life and provide for human needs. A natural resource is something that comes from nature that humans use.
Natural resources include things like stone, sand, metals, oil, coal, and natural gas. Air, sunlight, soil, and water are examples of other natural resources.
Oil, water, soil, minerals, wind, and sunlight are just a few of the numerous natural resources found on Earth. In other words, because of the mechanisms through which they are formed, resources are concentrated in particular areas.
Primary fuels like coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium are natural resources from the standpoint of energy. In addition, natural fluxes like wind and hydro are also resources.
Contrary to flows, primary fuels are found in the Earth as deposits that must be found and extracted.
Natural resources facilitated industrialisation since they offered the raw materials needed to construct factories and machinery as well as the raw materials required to produce goods.
They support tax revenue, income, and the fight against poverty. Natural resource-related industries generate employment and frequently form the backbone of poorer towns’ economies. Natural resources are fundamentally important, so they must be managed responsibly.
There are many natural resources abundant in the Southeastern part of Nigeria. The Southeast consists of five States; Anambra, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo.
These states, mainly occupied by the Igbo tribe, have many natural resources in abundance that contribute to their economic growth and that of the country as a whole.
In this article, we will be discussing the first seven, that are of utmost abundance in this region. It would be written in order of where these resources are most abundant.
Enugu, or Enugwu, is the name given to a region of the Udi Hills in southeast Nigeria where coal was discovered by British colonialists early in the 21st century. In Igbo, Enugu means hilltop.
A portion of the region, also known as Coal City, was first inhabited by the Nike people; there is evidence of their presence there dating back to the fifteenth century. The articles of trade changed to agricultural and mineral products after the trade was abolished and colonial rule began.
In 1909, coal was discovered in commercial quantities near Enugu.The discovery led to the formation of mines and the construction of a rail line, which was finished in 1916 and ran from Port Harcourt on the coast to Enugu and served as a means of transporting coal to ships sailing toward Europe.
Thus began Enugu’s explosive development as a significant urban hub. Ultimately, Enugu was chosen as the Eastern Region’s administrative center in 1938.
The Eastern Region was one of three regional governments that comprised Nigeria under British colonial rule, along with the Northern and Western regions. Lignite, sub-bituminous, anthracite, and bituminous coal are the main varieties (Idris, Onaji, Aberemi, & Aroke, 2016).
Sub-bituminous, the predominant variety found in Nigeria, has a lower quality than bituminous (Ezekwe & Odukwe, 1980;Godwin,1980). At Enugu, the Nigerian Coal Corporation (NCC) runs four automated long wall faces (Godwin, 1980).
People from all across the region were drawn to Enugu by its coal mining prospects, which formed the foundation of the first urban community that is now known simply as Enugu.
One of the few West African cities totally shaped by European contact is Enugu. Enugu had around 8,000 coal miners by 1958.
Widespread destruction caused by the Nigerian Civil War led to a decrease in coal production because of damaged or destroyed equipment.
Since 2005, coal mining has been a minor source of income, leaving mines idle.
Iron ore, limestone, fine clay, marble, and silica sand are among the additional minerals extracted in Enugu.
Onyeama, Iva Valley, Ogbete, and Okpara coal mines, which are now abandoned, continue to harm the environment and the public’s health as locals fight attempts to sell the properties for further mining and coal power processing.
Iron ore, limestone, fine clay, marble, and silica sand are a few more minerals that are mined in Enugu.
Deposits of coal can also be found in Abịa, Anambra and Imo State.
Describe a limestone.
It is a sedimentary rock with a significant calcium carbonate (calcite and aragonite) content as well as other minerals.
The Rock, limestones are common. Limestones make up one in ten sedimentary rocks. It is one of the planet’s most beneficial rocks. Because of its solubility and color, limestone frequently resembles other sedimentary rocks like dolomite and dolostone.
The separation and division of the limestone rock into blocks takes place in quarry benches. Following that, limestone can be utilized in various spheres.
Such sedimentary rocks like limestone have adverse environmental effects from quarrying and blasting. Noise pollution, disruption, and environmental degradation may result.
Because of the shaking of the earth’s crust, it can occasionally even cause earthquakes.
We would not be able to have many things without limestone, thus the technique is still required.
The primary mineral used in the manufacturing of cement is limestone. One of the hubs for Nigerian cement manufacture is located in the state of Ebonyi.
Cement is utilized for more than just building houses; quarry work also uses it. As a result, Ebonyi State is a good location for businesses in the building and construction industry.
Although not common, limestone is abundant in Nigeria’s sedimentary basins, where it is used as a raw material in the cement mills in Nkalagu in Ebonyi state and in Enugu state for the South East.
Let’s look at some of its most significant applications:
As a component of buildings (major constituent in cement production),
Used as crushed stone for roads and railroad ballast,
It is employed in the production of glass.
Since limestone is a reagent in the desulfurization of flue gases,
It reacts when exposed to sulfide (This reaction is used for controlling air pollution),
Paints, toothpaste, and other items use it as a filler.
It is used as a chemical feedstock in the manufacturing of lime,
Additionally, it is utilized in blast furnaces to purify iron.
To balance off excess acidity, limestone, quicklime, and slaked lime are all employed,
Limestone is sometimes even used to make glass,
Limestone is an excellent material for sculptures in addition to being utilized in construction and architecture,
Limestone can also be found in cosmetics and medications.
In your paper, paint, plastics, tiles, and even toothpaste, limestone can be found. Limestone serves as an inexpensive filler or pigment and prevents methane explosions in coal mines, saving lives in the process.
3. Lead and Zinc
One of the states in Nigeria that is rich in solid minerals is Ebonyi State, which includes lead ores. Since the mining of lead-zinc (Pb-Zn) ore began in Ebonyi State in 1925, due to the strong demand for Pb, Pb mining has advanced significantly. Natural Deposits Of Zinc (ZN) In Southeastern Nigeria States.
The mineral-rich states in Southeast Nigeria, one of the West African nations having zinc reserves, are Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, in no particular order.
Lead is still often used in a variety of products, including some solder, lead crystal glass, pigments, ammunition, cable sheathing, lifting and diving weights, and weight belts. Corrosive liquids are frequently stored in it.
The construction and automotive industries use zinc primarily for galvanizing steel. Brass, bronze, chemicals, and zinc-based alloys are also produced using zinc.
Lead is largely used to make lead-acid batteries, which are in high demand in the automotive industry.
Die-castings, which are crucial to the automotive, electrical, and hardware sectors, are made from zinc. Additionally, alloys made of zinc and other metals are employed.
These minerals play a very important role in the economic growth of the Southeast and the country.
There are numerous salt sources in the nation. According to experts, these sources include the natural brine found in lakes, springs, and saline waters. Salt is typically found in its natural state as the mineral halite, sometimes known as rock salt.
Unsurprisingly, the Greek word halos, which means “salt,” is where the name halite originates. Halite is typically discovered in and around salt lakes, springs, and oceans.
Its crucial qualities are demonstrated by the roles it performs in terms of both health and attractiveness. With cases of digestive issues, rock salt can be used as a laxative and to aid in digestion.
Additionally, it increases hunger, gets rid of gas, and calms heartburn.
The state of Ebonyi, whose motto is “the salt of the nation,” has the largest salt deposits. Other Southeastern states with salt deposits include Abia, Anambra and Imo State.
Food has long been preserved and flavored using salt. In addition, it has been used in the manufacture of pottery, soap, chlorine, dyes, and bleaches.
Today, the chemical industry makes extensive use of it. Large salt deposits can be found in the Ikwo, Uburu, and Okposi areas of Ohaozara and Abakaliki in the Ebonyi State.
Ebonyi is one of the states that the Federal Government might use to diversify the economy of the country because it is one of the states with abundant solid minerals.
Due to its fantastic qualities and fascinating history, the well-known Okposi salt lake is one of nature’s magnificent wonders. The lake is situated in Ivuezizor at Okposi Okwu, Ebonyi State’s Ohaozara Local Government Area.
5. Iron Ore
The current Enugu State appears to be the most promising of the several places, despite the fact that claims to the metal have been made for several areas inside Igbo country.
In some areas of Igbo territory, iron mining and use have a long history. The Agbaja plateau and certain areas of Nsukka in Enugu State have historically been the metal’s sources.
The area is covered in iron foundries. Igbo territory is the first region in Nigeria to enter the Iron Age, according to archeological discoveries in areas like Lejja and Opi in the Nsukka area.
While the Opi discoveries date to 750 BCE, the Lejja findings date to 2000 BCE.
Thus, the Igbo people or rather their ancestors had been working with iron for at least 4,000 years.
This suggests that the Igbo people’s forebears were among the world’s first populations to embrace the Iron Age and among the first in Africa. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the majority of the iron deposits in Igbo territory are restricted to the area that makes up the current Enugu State.
About 3 billion tons of iron are estimated to be present in Nigeria’s total iron reserve.The Enugu region contains over 100 million tons of the material (Taber dePolo, 1963) The deposits are distributed as follows. Onyeabor (2013): Ugwueme (30 million tons), Nsude (50 million tons), and Ekulu-River (5 million tons). 43% of these stones are composed of iron.
The extensive iron deposits of the Nsukka region, which had for thousands of years provided the iron ore that had ushered in the oldest iron age center in West Africa, had not been thoroughly examined.
Parts of the states of Ebonyi, Imo (as marcasite), and Abia are rich in limonite and other iron ores.It is significant to remember that the Nigersteel Co.Ltd, a joint venture between the government of Eastern Nigeria and some Italian companies, launched West Africa’s first steel rolling factory at Emene-Enugu in July 1962.
The mill was intended to process the 12,000 to 15,000 tons of scrap steel produced annually. It is odd that neither a steel mill nor a rolling mill are located in the Southeast.
6. Clays, bentonite, and kaolin
Based on their mineral makeup and other geological factors, clays have several names. Except for the Rivers Igbo axis, kaolin—often referred to as “local chalk” or “Nzu” in Igbo—occurs widely throughout the whole Igbo region, including Anioma.
A prominent deposit containing significant amounts of bentonite clays is the Abakaliki Formation in South-East Nigeria.
Bentonite clay deposits have also been found in the states of Anambra and Abia.
Abakaliki, Umuahia in Abia State, and Onitsha in Anambra State all have clay deposits.
Nigerian bentonite clay has special qualities that make it a suitable replacement for foreign kaolin in processing and use.
For thousands of years, kaolin had been used extensively in Igbo (African) religion and medicine. Some areas of the states of Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, and Abia contain bentonite, yet another type of clay.
Igbo territory contains some of the biggest kaolin and bentonite reserves. Pottery, construction, enamelware, conduits, and other electrical appliances all employ conventional “clay.” While bentonite is utilized in the oil business, kaolin is used in toothpaste, filler, paint, cosmetics, and other products.
7. Oil and Natural Gas Shale
The South-East is well-known for its abundant mineral resources, which include coal, limestone, tin, crude oil, and natural gas.
The eastern region is home to many states with varying percentages of these mineral resources. States in Nigeria’s eastern region are referred to as the South East.
Imo State is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including Nigeria’s largest and undeveloped natural gas field.
Nigeria had nearly 300 cubic feet of natural gas reserves by 2021, placing it ninth in the world. Imo had the largest reserve out of all the states in Nigeria.
Ebonyi State reports claim that the colonial government found oil or bitumen in the state’s Edda axis. It was probably an oil-shale discovery.
Because Nigeria contains traditional reserves of both oil and gas, little has been done to intentionally explore these sources. It appears that the states of Enugu (in particular), Ebonyi, and Abia have enormous reserves of oil and gas shale.
Alum, glass sand, quartz, copper, uranium, silver, false gold, flourites, gypsum, marble, sulphur and sulphites, barytes, phosphate, granite and building stones, uranium, silver, false gold, sulphides, and more.
Numerous unsubstantiated claims of deposits at different mineral-bearing sites have been made throughout Igbo territory.
These include feldspar, bauxite, granite, and iron ore in Anambra State; gold, bitumen, and bauxite in sections of Ebonyi State; salt, alluvial gold, gravel, and bauxite in parts of Anioma; tin, lead, zinc, and columbite in Enugu State; and feldspar, bauxite, and granite in portions of Ebonyi State.