Mining and Processing of Copper Ore for Export in Nigeria.

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Published: 18th January 2011
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The solid mineral industry in Nigeria is filled with a lot of investment opportunity for interested investors to take position and make good returns on their investments.

Copper ore is one of the industrial minerals that have been discovered in Nigeria and unlike other minerals; they usually occur as associate minerals in the body of the ore and at such it is therefore very difficult to estimate the quantity of copper ore in Nigeria. Other minerals like lead and zinc usually form the main part of the body of the ore and so they are easy to quantify. To understand these better, an attempt would be made to define mineral and metal ore. Mineral is an inorganic substance found in nature with a characteristics chemical composition and in some cases, of definite crystal structure. The earth crust contains rocks of different composition with different physical properties. Some hard, some soft.

Rocks are the materials which the earth's upper crusts are made of. Rocks are themselves composed of minerals. Minerals are naturally occurring elements like Gold, or a compound such as Iron Oxide. If a rock contains a mineral from which a metal can be extracted at a profit, it is call an Ore. For example, copper Ore.

Copper is malleable and ductile, a good conductor of heat and, when very pure, a good conductor of electricity. Copper has been used as water-proof roofing material since ancient times, giving many old building their greenish roofs and domes. As a material in the manufacture of computer heat sinks, as a result of it's superior heat dissipation capacity to aluminum.

The occurrence and distribution of copper ore in Nigeria is mainly in the Northern Part of the country because of the peculiar geology of the area and they are been mined in Nassarawa, Plateau, Zamfara, Bauchi and Gombe State.

Copper ore can be exported after sorting into size and packaging. Packaging is usually in 50 Kg since the price is quoted in Metric tons. 1000/KG makes 1 ton and this helps in easy containerization of the goods since most shipping company prefer to carry 20 tons in 20 feet container. In shipping mineral ores, 20 feet container is usually preferred because of the weight of the ores. The sorting of the ore simply refers to the breaking down of the ore into the desired sizes as agreed with the buyer. Sizes usually range from 0-50-100 mm and care must be taken while this is being done because if the product is not broken to the desired size, it might lead to a reduction in price or rejection of goods. Also buyer might want the ore in powder form but because of the cost and difficulty in getting a place to crush the lump into powder, It is not advisable a thing to do.
Ores because they vary in quality from one location to the other due to difference in the geology of the area and other factor as at the time of formation, have low and high grades. For copper ore, low grade ranges from 10%- 30% which the case with most of the copper found in Nigeria while high grade is usually from 30% above.

Though such facility do not exist in the country {and could be another investment opportunity for savvy investors to take advantage of}, the investor can sign processing agreement with foreign partners in order to add value to the copper ore to yield copper cathode which command higher price in the international market.

In the export of the copper ore, some of the cost to consider includes cost of the ore at the site, cost of 2% PB, cost of transportation to site of crushing/loading {in case the mining site is not accessible to trucks},cost of crushing ,cost of packaging ,cost loading to the truck ,cost of transportation to warehouse/port ,cost of analysis, cost of freight ,Warehouse cost, deposit Fee, agent fee, NESS Fee and miscellaneous

Should you require a market report/feasibility study, supply contract or sourcing of the product from miners in Nigeria, please do contact the writer.

Anaekwe Everistus Nnamdi is a Business Development Consultant by day and blogs on investment opportunities in Nigeria by Night. He is the administrator of ,a forum focused on business in Nigeria.

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