DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA'S BITUMEN FOR NATIONAL ECONOMIC GROWTH: OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEMBRANE SEPARATION TECHNOLOGY
Nigeria is richly endowed with a variety of solid minerals ranging from precious metals to precious stones and industrial minerals. The Nigeria Extractive Industry and Transparent Initiative (NEITI) reported that there are forty (40) different kinds of solid minerals and precious metals buried in Nigeria soil waiting to be exploited and processed. One of such minerals is Bitumen. Processed bitumen plays an important role in many everyday applications. It is one of the most used solid mineral resources. The massive investment in infrastructure that will be required to cater for this exploitation presents a research opportunity into how solid minerals are explored and processed in Nigeria. Membrane separation (MS) technique is an essential separation and purification technology that can be used for a sustainable solid mineral processing and purification. This is due to its simplicity, lower capital and operating costs, and energy efficiency. It is a commercially successful competitor to other conventional separation techniques that are currently employed for solid mineral production, purification and treatment. The essence of this paper is to acquaint the readers with the immense benefits of membrane separation techniques in the extraction of Nigeria Bitumen and possibly see necessity of investing into its development.