Plateau is the twelfth largest state of Nigeria, and is located approximately in the center of the country. It is geographically unique in Nigeria because its boundaries surround the Jos Plateau, having the entire plateau in its central and northern part. The capital is Jos. Plateau State is celebrated as "The Home of Peace and Tourism", an image that has been fractured in recent years by Muslim-Christian clashes in the state. Plateau State gets its name from the Jos Plateau. It has a population of around 3.5 million people. Jos Plateau rises to about 5,250 feet (1,600 m) above sea level in the state’s north-central part, and the Benue River valley stretches along the southwestern border. Although there are wooded valleys in the southeast, the vegetation is mostly open grassland (formerly wooded but now with only occasional hedges of cacti and scattered trees), which is used for grazing and farming. Although the state is best known for its mining production, agriculture is the major occupation of the people. Acha (a grain known as “hungry rice”) and millet are the chief cash crops; yams, sorghum, corn (maize), potatoes, cowpeas, rice, fruits, and vegetables are the staple crops. Plateau state is the most important mining area in Nigeria and is a major exporter of tin and columbite. The tin is smelted just outside Jos, the state capital and its largest town. The metals are shipped by rail to Port Harcourt for export. Other minerals, notably tantalite, kaolin, tungsten (wolfram), zircon, and thorium compounds, are also exploited on the plateau. Lead, zinc, and silver are mined on a small scale in the eastern part of the state around Wase, Zurak, and Kigom.
[table id=7 /]