Natural Deposits Of Lithium (Li) Mineral In Nigeria

Lithium and other mineral resources that Nigeria, Western Africa are blessed with are a major means for industrial growth in the country.

Lithium is a metal and is soft with a silvery-white colour which changes to a dull silvery-grey colour and then to black tarnish on exposure to moist air and this occurs due to corrosion of the surface. It is found in Nasarawa and is deposited in abundance in the State.

Lithium deposits in Nigeria

 

Lithium is located in group 1 (alkali metals group) of the periodic table, it has an atomic number 3 and the symbol of Li, the boiling point of lithium is 1,342 °C, and its melting point is 180.5 °C.

Its occurrence in nature has never been in a free state but appears only in ionic compounds such as petalite which was and is still a major source of lithium today.

Nigeria is abundantly blessed with varying natural mineral deposits, but more than half of these mineral reserves such as Lithium are undeveloped and it has been a major concern that Nigeria though rich in minerals which total to about 44 still don’t have adequate plans on how these endowed minerals can be of benefit to the nation.

And as the government has been more concerned about crude oil exploration, refining and sales, these minerals have been left to be mined illegally where the health of the people and the safety of the environment are not considered at all.

Uses of Lithium

  • Is used to make lightweight, efficient battery electrolytes and electrodes.
  • The compounds of Lithium are used in medicine because it contains anti-manic agents which are situated for the treatment and prevention of bipolar disorder, which is a type of mental disorder.
  • Lithium oxide is used as a flux for processing silica which reduces the melting point and viscosity of the material.
  • Lithium hydroxide which can also be used in producing Lithium soap can generally serve as the main ingredient in the manufacturing of all lubricating greases of high temperature.
  • The compounds of Lithium are used to reduce veining during iron casting by adding it to the foundry.
  • Serves as an additive in aluminium smelting which reduces the melting temperature and increases the electrical resistance.
  • Metallic lithium improves the fusing of metals during soldering or welding.
  • Lithium bromide and chloride are used in gas streams as desiccants because of their hygroscopic nature.
  • Lithium fluoride is most time used in specialist optics because of its clear, crystal, and transparent nature.


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