Bitumen is one of the richly deposited mineral resources in Nigeria and in some Africa countries just like crude oil, it is found in Ondo, Lagos, Ogun, and Edo State. It was discovered first in the 1900s, with exploration beginning in 1905. A technical and economic evaluation of Bitumen in Nigeria was conducted and it was observed that it contains oil which accounts for more than 13 to 14 billion barrels of oil.
Bitumen is a blackish viscous liquid which is a by-product gotten from the fractional distillation of crude oil and has a boiling point range of about 500oC – 700oC. It can also be found naturally in tar sand where it can also be processed and refined into oil rich bitumen.
In Ondo State, where a larger deposit of tar sand/bitumen is, the state government is advocating on behalf of its people for the exploration of this mineral in the state which can help reduce the environmental degradation which is caused by the spilling of the bitumen on their farmlands and rivers and as well will create not only employment for the people of the state and the nation at large but will also lure prominent local and international investors.
In as much as the mineral resources can richly serve as an alternative to crude oil which has decline over the years, it is good to know also about the implications involved in the mining as it can lead to deforestation and likely affect most parts of Irele Local Government Area of Ondo State, where the bitumen deposit is in huge quantity and recorded as the largest deposit in Africa and second largest deposit in the world.
There are two types of bitumen namely: paving grade and roofing grade. Paving grade bitumen is widely used for road construction and for the production of superior asphalt pavements, and it’s essential and vital because it binds together aggregates making them form a unique cohesion and stability to the bituminous mix while the Roofing grade is widely used for construction and remodelling of homes.
Uses of Bitumen
- Is primarily used in road construction to bind aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete.
- It is used as a waterproof in bituminous products.
- It is used in the production of sealing flat roofs and roofing felt.
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