Dangoma, a community 15 kilometres from Kafanchan, headquarters of Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State, is Nigeria’s home of "world class and highly unusual" nickel discovery.
Daily Trust yesterday visited Dajin Maduru, in Dangoma village, Kaninkon chiefdom, where the "world class" nickel was discovered last week by an Australian private mining syndicate, headed by Hugh Morgan, a mining industry veteran.
“The discovery is unusual because the nickel is found in small balls up to 3mm in diameter of high purity in shallow soils in what could be the surface expression of a much bigger hard-rock nickel field,” The Australian, an Australia newspaper said.
“The nickel balls, rumoured to grade better than 90 per cent nickel and thought to be a world first given their widespread distribution, offer the potential for early cash flow from a simple and low-cost screening operation to fund a full assessment of the find that has exploration circles buzzing,” the newspaper said.
The village is a poor farming community with a population of about 25,000 people.
Dangoma has a one-room dilapidated clinic run by a nurse and a local attendant as well as a primary school which all the children in the village attend.
Fifty-six year-old Malam Ishak Zamani Muduru, a farmer and bricklayer, is the person in whose farm the gold mine was discovered.
He told Daily Trust that until the discovery last week, he was not aware of the presence of something "big" in the farm, he inherited from his forefathers.
Muduru said he only knew of an Abuja-based mining company, Comet Mining Ltd, that had been working there for over 10 years.
He said Comet was the first mining company that discovered the mineral in the land and they had reached an agreement with the manager, Mr. Olayekan and the owner of the land on behalf of Muduru family, to do his work in their farm.
Showing land titles to our reporter, Muduru said, they inherited the land from their forefathers over 100 years ago. He also displayed some court documents that resolved a dispute with his siblings and handed him the land in 2010.
Comet manager Mr. Olayekan, refused to speak to our reporter, saying he had nothing to say right now.
However, Muduru, a father of 10, told Daily Trust that for over 20 years, he has been seeing several Europeans coming to the land to conduct various surveys, but actually did not tell them anything.
He said he was happy that the discovery was made at a time President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was talking about diversification of the economy towards solid minerals development.
Shafi’u Abdullahi Aliyu, a native of Dangoma and a local miner, told Daily Trust that he had spent over 16 years doing local mining in the area.
He said he had been mining and selling Tamaline, Copper, Tantalite, Mica, Beirut, Coal, Zinc, among others.
Aliyu said he was aware that some Europeans had lived and worked at the Muduru site during the late Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed’s regime.
“Several individuals and companies had worked here for more than three years. We don’t know exactly what they were doing. They usually told us they were mining zinc only. When they finished their mining they just gave us pocket money and left,” he said.
He urged the government to come to their rescue, saying the village had only one primary school with an over-crowded classroom of over 100 pupils.
The village head of Dangoma and Kuyambana of Kaninikon, Alhaji Sa’idu Alhassan, urged the state government to provide social facilities in the area.
Speaking to Daily Trust in his palace, the 75-year old acting district head of Dangoma and Dangaladiman Dangoma, Alhaji Waje Damina, said the indigenous Fulani of Dangoma had been living there for over 500 years.
The traditional ruler, who is a retired military officer, appealed to the government to complete the road project that links the village with Godogodo-Jagindi.
He said a Kaduna-based mining company, Kian Smith, was in the village days after the discovery and collected some sample of the solid mineral.
Dangoma is not far from Gidan Waya, Antan and Nisama, where mining activities took place in the late 1980s.
Dozens of Senegalese, Malians and Gambians had trooped to Kafanchan where they have engaged in mining activities.
The federal government has not officially confirmed the discovery, but Minister of Mining and Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is scheduled to speak first on September 7 at a three-day Africa Down Under Mining Conference in Perth, Australia.