The BGS has completed a national programme of geochemical mapping and training in Nigeria to help identify mineral potential and assist in environmental management.
Nigeria is a hydrocarbons-based economy. The Nigerian government would like to diversify their mineral extraction industry; there is mineral potential but, at present, there is insufficient baseline data to attract the interest of investors.
In addition to using the national geochemical maps for resource exploration, Nigerian decision makers will use the data to underpin decisions relating to the environment, health, and land use and rehabilitation.
The Nigeria geochemical mapping project, worth £2.2 million, was funded by the World Bank through the Nigerian Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP).
Our two-year project, which commenced in October 2008, provides technical assistance to the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) to carry out a national programme of geochemical mapping of the surface environment for over 50 chemical elements.
The BGS is the main client but some of the work has been sub-contracted to the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK).
The project provided extensive training in the methods and techniques of regional geochemical mapping to the NGSA, and advised on the necessary infra-structure such as the requirement for a dedicated geochemical laboratory.
To give an indication of the scale of the work programme, the Global Reference Network (GRN) for geochemical mapping comprises approximately 5000 cells.
Each cell is 25 600 km2 in area and 35 of these are completely (and nine partly) in Nigeria. The recent geochemical mapping of Northern Ireland (part of the Tellus project) mapped an area just over half the size of one GRN cell.
The NGSA selected two field areas for geochemical mapping — a GRN cell to the north-west of Abuja and another in south-west Nigeria to the north of Lagos.
In January 2009, specialists from BGS and GTK ran a geochemical mapping workshop in Kaduna, Nigeria.
The workshop was followed by a field orientation exercise using stream sediment sampling in the Minna area of Nigeria. Some NGSA staff were also trained in the UK on sample preparation and laboratory techniques, aspects of economic geology, and data processing at the BGS.
Part of this training included an attachment to the BGS London Earth G-BASE geochemical sampling team in 2009.
Results were presented as geochemical maps and a series of 26 reports, each tied to a particular phase of the project.
In 2012 we also published, in Applied Geochemistry, an overview of regional geochemical mapping using stream sediments from central and south-western Nigeria:
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