Gold is a natural resource deposit mainly found in the Northern part of Nigeria, West Africa which is prominently located in Iperindo in Osun State and other areas near Maru, Tsohon Birnin Gwari-Kwaga, Gurmana, Anka, Malele, Bin Yauri and Okolom-Dogondaji.
Though it’s not dominant in the country, other states with smaller deposits include; Abia, Abuja, Bauchi, Edo, Cross River, Niger, Sokoto, Osun, Oyo State, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kogi, and Zamfara.
Gold is a precious metal and the 3rd most valued after platinum and palladium, the boiling and melting points of Gold is noted to be 2,970 °C and 1,064 °C respectively and has an atomic number 79. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element.
Gold is bright in colour and slightly reddish yellow with other physical characteristics such as its density and softness when in its purest form, it is also a malleable and ductile metal. It is found throughout the earth crust including the sea but has higher concentrations or natural spots in some areas, it is naturally found in association with quartz veins which can be mostly found in granites and rocks.
In Nigeria, all operations about gold from production to exploration, mining, and refining was mainly significant in the year 1913 with its highest production in the early 1930s but unfortunately, few years after the promising mineral exploration and production, the production of gold in Nigeria declined due to the Second World War in 1939 which resulted in abandonment of mines by the colonial companies that was at then the head of the Nigerian gold production.
This precious metal can be obtained in 3 ways namely; by-product of the mining of other metals, placer mining and vein mining. Placer mining is predominately used when the gold metal is found associated with loose materials, ranging from clay to sand and gravel deposits, thus making mining difficult, but because of their different densities, gold having a high density can be easily separated with water or dredging.
For vein mining, the veins are formed when mineral constituents within the rock mass are carried carried by an aqueous solution and deposited through the process of precipitation.
Many gold mines exploited especially during the gold rushes of the 19th century used this method. It is used when the gold ore is embedded in wall rocks or the areas surrounding it.
Gold is found in some African countries such as Nigerian states in varying quantities but there is no single gold mining operation currently done in the country at a large scale except for small scale operations which are mainly done by artists.
One of the renowned small scale gold mining operation is carried out by the families of Aleye from Anka in Kwara State. Prior to the pursuit of crude oil in the country, there was a corporation formed in the 1980’s known as the Nigerian Mining Corporation (NMC).
It was established with the sole aim of exploring and mining gold but due to poor funding and neglect from the government which seems to have found a better and more money yielding mineral which was crude oil, resulted in the fall and eventually closing down of the corporation.
Gold has a variety of uses