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SME Guide

Exploring the Rich Mineral Deposits of Ekiti State: A Comprehensive Guide

Ekiti State, located in southwestern Nigeria, is endowed with abundant mineral resources that remain largely untapped. While oil and gas dominate the Nigerian economy, Ekiti possesses substantial deposits of strategic minerals like limestone, granite, kaolin clays, quartz, and tantalite. When sustainably developed, these mineral deposits can transform the local economy and position Ekiti as a major mining hub in Nigeria.

This comprehensive guide offers a deep dive into Ekiti’s key mineral assets, the opportunities they represent, and the geoscience behind their formation. Strategic recommendations for leveraging Ekiti’s mineral wealth to drive socio-economic growth are provided.

Ekiti State’s Geology: Foundation for Mineral Occurrences

Ekiti State falls along the southwest flank of the Precambrian Basement Complex formation that underlies much of northern and central Nigeria. The basement rock suites contain metamorphic and igneous formations dated to over 600 million years ago. Subsequently, the basement experienced periods of sedimentary cover, compression, and uplift through the Mesozoic Era into the Cenozoic.

Key Geological Features

Ekiti lies within Nigeria’s crystalline Precambrian shield. The regional geology is characterised by gneiss and quartzites. migmatite complexes and older metasediments. Granite suites occurring in major outcrops across Ekiti indicate multiple intrusive events. Younger Cretaceous sediments occur along the eastern border regions.

Structural Attributes

Multiple cycles of compression and crustal deformation have imbued the Ekiti geology with major shear zones, faults, and fracturing. These structures provide conduits for mineralizing fluid flows, forming the basis for Ekiti’s deposits. Northeast-trending fractures are associated with pegmatite emplacements containing tin-columbite and tantalite-niobite.


Ekiti’s basement rock structure is overlain by Cretaceous sediments towards the northeast. Stratigraphy includes Ipole Group shales, Oshosun Formation sandstones, Ewekoro Limestone, and Akinbo Formation. Younger alluvium deposits occur along river courses.

‘Mineralized Zones’

The interplay between Ekiti’s granitic intrusions, structural features, and lithological contacts creates distinct mineralized zones. Charnockitic rocks host tin and columbite. Pegmatites contain additional rare metals. Quartz veins yield gemstones. Kaolinization produces unique clay bodies.

Ekiti’s Mineral Wealth

Ekiti State contains over 30 strategically important minerals occurring in commercial quantities. Mineralization reflects Nigeria’s broader geology, while some deposits are unique to Ekiti. Occurrences range from high-volume industrial minerals to precious gemstones to niche technology metals.

Industrial Minerals


  • Nigeria’s primary kaolin reserves
  • The main occurrence near Ikere, Ekiti
  • For ceramics, cement, paint, rubber, and pharmaceuticals


  • Major deposits across Ekiti
  • Dimension stone potential
  • Ornamental stone applications


  • 99 metric tonnes of reserves in sedimentary belts
  • Key inputs for cement production
  • Supports the agricultural industry


  • Widespread artisanal gold mining
  • Small-scale occurrences in veins
  • New discoveries are expected.



  • Found locally in pegmatites
  • Valued as a semi-precious gem
  • Colours include green and pink.


  • Include an aquamarine variety.
  • Formed via granitic fluids
  • Transparent, light blue gems


  • Abundant crystalline quartz
  • May contain smokey inclusions
  • Jewellery and ornamental uses

Strategic and Critical Metals


  • Key deposits in pegmatites
  • Niobium and tantalum content
  • Essential technology metals


  • Associated mineralization
  • Important tin-tantalite belt
  • Applications in solders and alloys


  • Scheelite skarn occurrences
  • Used in heating and welding
  • Superalloys, armaments


  • Zirconium mineralization
  • Ceramics and refractories
  • Foundry and steel use

Overview of Key Mineral Occurrences

Ekiti hosts mineral deposits in commercial quantities that can catalyse broad-based economic growth. Kaolin, limestone, granite, and gemstones provide immediate opportunities, but tin-tantalite pegmatites and other strategic metals signify strong future potential.


Kaolin clays represent Ekiti’s most promising industrial mineral asset. Situated close to the state capital of Ado Ekiti, the major kaolin beds around Ikere Ekiti contain white clay reserves valued at over ₦100 billion. As the best quality kaolin in Nigeria, these deposits serve growing domestic demand from manufacturers of paint, ceramics, cement, rubber, paper, pharmaceuticals, and leather products. But the sheer volume and high brightness of Ekiti’s kaolin create scope to also develop value-added downstream processing clusters producing refined filler grades. New surveys are likely to uncover additional deposits around the state. With the right policy framework, Ekiti can leverage its exceptional kaolin advantage to drive industrialization.

Limestone and cement

Limestone occurs in commercial quantities in Ekiti’s eastern border regions, with reserves estimated at 99 million metric tonnes. The sedimentary belts contain high-purity limestone suited for cement manufacturing, the foremost application. As Nigeria continues its large-scale infrastructure rollout, cement demand is projected to rise exponentially over the next decade. Ekiti’s proximity to market centres positions the state as an ideal location for new cement works. Limestone also supports key industries like steel, chemicals, agriculture, and water treatment. While active quarrying occurs, greater private sector participation can accelerate the development of Ekiti’s limestone deposits.

Dimension Stones

Granite, gneiss, and migmatites occur abundantly across Ekiti, presenting opportunities in dimension stone. The IUGS ranks Nigeria among the leading producers globally for granite, with current demand focused on construction. Ekiti’s granite deposits feature diverse mineralization, textures, and colours, including exotic blue, grey, and pink varieties. Beyond floor tiles and facing slabs, promotional efforts can develop ornamental stone niche markets. Ekiti also possesses high-quality gneiss and quartzites comparable to Brazilian materials, which fetch premium pricing internationally. With improvements in cutting and polishing, Dimension Stones offers both mass market and exclusive stone products ‘Made in Ekiti’.


Small-scale artisanal mining in Ekiti produces various gemstones, including emerald, tourmaline, garnet, topaz, amethyst, sapphire, and aquamarine. These precious and semi-precious stones accumulate in alluvial deposits or form within quartz veins and pegmatites associated with granite intrusions. Gem boomtowns like Ijero illustrate the growing consumer appetite for Ekiti gemstones in African and emerging markets, even at unprocessed quality. Providing extension services and improved mining techniques can enhance productivity, while the establishment of lapidary facilities catering to jewellery designers can increase value-added locally. In addition to job creation, gemstones deliver hard currency export earnings.


The Ijero-Ikere pluton area contains Ekiti’s most significant tin-tantalite mineralization associated with rare metal pegmatites. Tantalite ores specifically yield niobium and tantalum, two indispensable ‘technology metals’ showing record price gains recently. Tantalum possesses unique heat and corrosion resistance properties demanded in electronics, while niobium alloys are essential for aerospace, automation, and tooling. As a key global tantalite source, Ekiti can position itself strategically to benefit through integration into the battery metal supply chain. Tin also retains markets in soldering, semiconductors, and as an alloying agent. With pegmatite geosciences still underexplored, systematically mapping mineralized occurrences provides upside.

Other Metals

In addition to tin-tantalite belts, Ekiti geology indicates potential for economic tungsten, zircon, rare earth elements, and gold mineralization. Tungsten scheelite skarns may allow the domestic supply of tungsten carbides for drilling equipment. Zircon prospects bolster the development of the refractories and foundry industries. Traces of rare earth oxides associated with pegmatites deserve follow-up investigation. Renewed gold exploration utilising geophysics could uncover deposits supporting mine development given high bullion prices. Further geological survey work and demonstration trials are warranted to quantify viability.

SWOT Analysis


  • Abundance of high-demand minerals
  • Significant kaolin, limestone, and granite reserves
  • Strategic metal occurrences (tin, tantalum, and niobium)
  • High-purity industrial minerals suited for export
  • Existing artisanal mining and production


  • Poor geoscience mapping and exploration
  • Underdeveloped mining sector administration
  • Absence of major private investments
  • Lack of downstream processing infrastructure
  • Use of rudimentary techniques by informal miners


  • Import substitution through domestic ore utilisation
  • Mineral beneficiation via value addition
  • New geoscience surveys to expand resources
  • FDI in mining infrastructure development
  • Construction materials for Lagos megalopolis


  • Persistent infrastructure constraints
  • Global mineral price volatility
  • Environmental degradation and conflicts
  • Over-reliance on oil revenues
  • Security challenges across Nigeria

Ekiti State’s mineral endowment, coupled with its location within the thriving Southwest region, generates unique opportunities for sustainable and responsible mining development. Strategic priorities include conducting detailed geological surveys, attracting technology partners for mining projects, strengthening regulatory institutions, formalising artisanal miners, building transport infrastructure to mining areas, and establishing mineral processing clusters.

Within a supportive policy environment, Ekiti can leverage its mineral resources to become an industrialised economy. Downstream production of kaolin filler grades, high-value ornamental stones, cement, ceramic tiles, and other finished minerals can link Ekiti to regional and international buyers. Meanwhile, first-stage mining and processing will provide direct and indirect jobs across the state.

If these opportunities are to be captured, government leadership must prioritise the mining sector, moving towards a clear development roadmap for Ekiti State. The reform agenda should encompass measures on licencing, extension services for miners, access to mine sites, fiscal regimes, environmental guidelines, resolving community issues, and investor facilitation.

Geology and Occurrence of Kaolin

Kaolin, also termed ‘China clay’, is an industrial clay formed by the chemical weathering of feldspathic rocks like granite. In tropical environments, percolating acidic waters leach out silicate minerals within granite suites, leaving behind a white alumino-silicate clay residue.

The kaolinization process sees granite deposits transformed into two main kaolin ore types:

Primary Kaolin

Formed in situ by the intense weathering of granites, only kaolinized cores remain. Often, purer deposits require conventional mining.

Secondary Kaolin

Transported clays that accumulate through river transportation and sedimentation. Mined through open pits but may have impurities.

In Ekiti, large primary kaolin deposits have developed from the extensive weathering of underlying granite formations. The vast blankets and lenses of kaolinized granite span several kilometres across the countryside, from Ado Ekiti to Ikere Ekiti.

Commercially mineable kaolin here averages 45% alumina and 38% silica, comparable to high-quality Chinese grades. Testing indicates properties suited for paper filling, paint, ceramics, fibreglass, rubber, and pharmaceuticals.

Local clay types include:

Friable Kaolin: easily crushed deposits containing some quartz sand. Requires beneficiation to upgrade quality.

Firm Kaolin: compact crystallised clay layers that are purer but difficult to disintegrate and process.

The extreme whiteness, fine particle size distribution, and brightness make Ekiti’s kaolin reserves a highly coveted industrial mineral at local and international markets. With large untapped deposits proximal to transportation networks, Ekiti Kaolin provides an exceptional competitive advantage.

Realising the state’s kaolin potential, however, requires attracting specialist mining companies to deploy advanced beneficiation techniques. Their capital investments can be leveraged to upgrade Ekiti kaolin into value-added products further.

Limestone and Cement Feedstock Potential

Sedimentary limestone belts spanning from the Ilara-Epe axis to the Ikole axis contain Ekiti’s largest limestone reserves. Estimated at over 99 million metric tonnes, these high-calcium Cretaceous limestones meet technological specifications for cement manufacturing. The limestone here averages 97% CaCO3 purity, with only minor shale band occurrences.

Ekiti’s Oshosun, Ewekoro, and Akinbo limestone formations have particular significance, stretching across Ijero and Ikole council districts.

Open-cast quarries actively mine limestone deposits around Ire, Okemesi, Ikogosi, and Igbara Odo. Output currently supplies local cement works in neighbouring states. However, new investments can develop large-scale indigenous clinker and cement plants, leveraging Ekiti’s proximate limestone resources.

In addition to ample limestone reserves, Ekiti offers key advantages supporting cement production growth:

Strategic Location: Positioned near major Southwest markets with surging construction activity.

Transport Networks: Road, rail, and barge connections linking production to big consumer centres.

Power Supply: access to a national grid line and the ability to facilitate dedicated power.

Skilled Workforce: Technical institutes churn out cement field engineers within the state.

Backward integration of new megacement factories with Ekiti’s limestone quarries can thus make the state Nigeria’s next regional cement hub. Resulting cost savings get passed on to customers via competitive cement pricing.

Interventions like bulk handling infrastructure at mines, heavy machinery deployments, blasting services, and access road construction can help rapidly unlock Ekiti’s limestone potential. Purpose-built cement clusters will further maximise economic linkages.

Granite Dimension Stones

Granite occurs abundantly across Ekiti State in diverse mineralized varieties. Textures range from fine to coarse-grained, with colours including grey, pink, and exotic blue hues. The granite bodies were emplaced as intrusions during Precambrian times under immense temperatures and pressures, naturally forming these extraordinarily hard, crystalline rocks.

The unique properties of Ekiti granites make them valuable ornamental and dimension stones. When cut and polished, vibrant patterns and consistency emerge within the stone. Granites here meet key industry standards:

Strength: Extremely high compressive and tensile strengths confer durability. Dense mineralization resists weathering and wear-and-tear over time.

Hardness: Quartz and feldspar minerals making up granite rate 7 and higher on the Mohs Scale, avoiding scratches.

Appearance: diverse aesthetic forms with potential one-of-a-kind granites comparable to the most prized global varieties.

Abundance: Vast, high-quality deposits across Ekiti allow for large-scale quarrying.


Ekiti’s indigenous granites are suitable for:

  • Tile flooring and wall cladding
  • Kitchen and bathroom countertops
  • Monuments, sculpture material
  • Facing slabs on the exteriors of hotels, office buildings, and airports
  • Prestige interior design decorative objects

Factory processing of dimension stone includes cutting granite blocks from quarries into standard sizes using diamond-tipped blades. Further stages involve shaping, calibration, smoothing, profiling, and creating specialised surface textures.

Ekiti already supplies contour-cut granite to tile manufacturers countrywide. However, more value addition can occur by directly exporting high-end cut-to-size slabs to international markets. There is also scope for carved decorative stone artefacts catering to tourist souvenir demand.

With the right policy environment and infrastructure backbone, Ekiti granites offer immense potential for downstream mineral beneficiation.

Gemstone Occurrences and Opportunities

Alluvial gemstone deposits and quartz veins across Ekiti State yield diverse precious and semi-precious stones highly coveted in jewellery and for decorative uses. Major gem varieties and properties include:

Tourmaline is a multicoloured borosilicate mineral valued for its crystalline beauty. It occurs in hues spanning from pink to green to bi-colour. Formed by granitic pegmatites.

Garnet: hard calcium-aluminium silicates used as abrasives. It is also a niche gemstone when found in high clarity. Common around Ilara.

Beryl: includes greenish ‘emerald’ forms and transparent sky-blue aquamarine beryl demanded in gem markets. Associated with lithium enrichment.

Quartz: Abundant veins contain crystalline quartz as well as rare amethyst (purple) and smoky quartz with greyish inclusions.

Topaz is a fluorine-aluminium silicate gem found in the Igbara Odo region. Value depends on golden yellow to blue colours.

Sapphire: Impurities in corundum crystals infrequently create sapphire varieties. There is a higher demand than diamonds for deep blue gems.

Artisanal Mining

A thriving cottage industry exists around the artisanal mining and trading of Ekiti gemstones. This creates livelihoods for youth in mining communities, but workers face risks of entering unauthorised pits and tunnels. Providing safe equipment, and underground safety knowledge, and securing licenced fields for local miners through cooperatives or small-scale concessions is important.

Many gems, like aquamarine, fetch higher prices when cut and polished by experts. Therefore, establishing lapidary workshop facilities to train youth in gem processing techniques adds value. Government agencies can support the marketing of ‘verified source’ Ekiti gemstones to export channels like online retailers and jewellery designers seeking unique African materials.

International buyer missions also help connect local gemstone miners with overseas partners. Overall, a nurturing regulatory environment and access to technology allow micro-entrepreneurs to transform Ekiti’s gem wealth into sustainable income.

Tin-Tantalite-Niobium-Enriched Pegmatites

Rare metal mining pegmatites around Ijero and Ikere represent Ekiti’s most valuable mineralization outside industrial applications. Enrichment here includes strategically critical metals like tantalum, niobium, and tin, as well as lithium, beryllium, caesium, rubidium, and scandium traces.

The geologic processes behind this metal accumulation provide insights into new prospecting approaches.


Tin-tantalite-bearing pegmatites formed through the crystallisation of granitic melts. Enriched fluids contain rare elements like tantalum, niobium, and tin, as well as lithophile elements that concentrate in the molten state. These intrusions solidified into exceptionally coarse-grained rocks with visible mineralization.


Notable traits of Ekiti’s rare metal pegmatites:

  • Coarse-grained textures with large crystal aggregates
  • Associated with late-stage granite formations
  • Complex zoning of mineral layers based on chemistry
  • Presence of cassiterite (tin) and columbite-tantalite ores


Swarms of pegmatites occur across a ~300 sq. km. triangular zone defined by the towns of Ijero, Ikere, and Igbara Odo. The most elevated topography here likely supported melting processes that formed rare metal melts.


Tantalum and niobium content is hosted in coltan ores like columbite, tantalite, and microlite. Tin occurs as cassiterite or wood tin. The rare metals caesium, beryllium, and lithium indicate untapped potential.

Modern airborne radiometric now enable detecting radioelement traces to pinpoint pegmatites under vegetation and soil. Applying these geophysics techniques can rapidly expand Ekiti’s catalogue of strategic mineralization.

Purpose-built metallurgical demo plants can then trial processing methods to assess the commercial viability of mines. With technology, the state can leverage its unique pegmatites to supply domestic manufacturing while breaking into the global battery metal value chain.


Ekiti State clearly possesses a strong geological endowment and wealth in minerals that can drive transformative economic growth for local communities. From high-volume industrial materials to internationally coveted gemstones to critical technology metals, vast opportunities have been highlighted across the mining, processing, and manufacturing value chains.

However, a key ingredient for mining sector success remains clear policy direction and reforms from the Ekiti state government. A progressive legislative, fiscal, and administrative framework for minerals must aim to balance three core objectives: attracting investment into exploration and mining, maximising in-country value addition from minerals, and ensuring socio-economic inclusion so mineral wealth translates to human development.

With visionary leadership, the will to strengthen sector governance and a spirit of economic justice, Ekiti State is primed to convert its abundant subsurface natural capital into improvements for millions of lives overground. The ingredients for a thriving, ethical, and sustainable mineral-led economy are all in place.

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