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Exploitation and traditional processing techniques of brine salt in parts of the Benue-Trough, Nigeria

International Journal of Mineral Processing
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.minpro.2003.10.005
  • Brine
  • Salt
  • Processing Techniques
  • Crystallization
  • Leaching
  • Evaporative Boiling
  • Benue-Trough
  • Nigeria
  • Economics


Abstract Detail assessment and evaluation of the age-long exploitation and local processing methods/techniques of brine salts in some rural communities in parts of the lower and middle regions of the Benue-Trough, Nigeria are presented in this study. The study area covers Olachor-Abachor area (lower region) and Awe-Azara-Keana area (middle region) that are characterised by occurrences of prominent saline groundwater systems (the so-called brines) and the associated age-long traditional edible salt production. Consequently, systematic presentations of the procedures and stages involved in both regions are highlighted alongside with supporting photographic plates for better appreciation of the seemly traditional salt production techniques. With the exception of complex/risky exploitation process, the salt production in the lower region involved simple evaporative boiling and cooling-crystallization process, while that of the middle region involved additional intermediate solar crystallization on sand beds and leaching procedures, a sort of ingenious re-concentration process, before the final processing phase. Though a few limitations and problems associated with the overall local/traditional processing methods are identified, nonetheless the socio-economic and rural settings point to the fact that complete modernization will lead to loss of means of livelihood for many of the illiterate rural women involved and thus social imbalance within the associated communities. Therefore, recommendations presented herein are focused on improvement of the existing traditional production techniques within the frameworks of the socio-economic and literacy background of the women-folk, as the main stakeholders, involved in local salt production in the respective communities.

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