Nigeria looking forward to exporting barite to African countries – Minister
Story from Abah ADAH, Abuja
Minister of Mines and Steel Development Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite has stated that Nigeria is looking forward to exporting barite to some African countries.
Adegbite disclosed this while intimating the Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria, Daniel Bertrand, who paid him a courtesy call in his office in Abuja, with developments in the solid minerals sector, adding that the ministry was open to collaborating with Belgium to further develop the mining sector.
The Minister, in a statement issued by his media aide, Ayodeji Adeyemi, told his guest that the ministry was making the sector more vibrant towards fulfilling its mandate of diversifying the economy away from oil, creating jobs and raising the revenue profile of the government.
“Last year we launched the Nigerian barite to show that we can now produce barite that meets the API standard in our country. This will save us millions of dollars spent on importing barite every year, which would also create jobs and lead to skills specialisation in some specific fields. We are also looking at the possibilities of eventually exporting barite to other African countries which would earn our country revenue,” the Minister said.
Adegbite equally told the ambassador that as part of the ministry’s achievement, local barite production has been fine-tuned to meet the American Petroleum Institute (API) standard.
He said the ministry was creating a viable gold ecosystem in the country, opening up areas for foreign investors to take up stakes in the gold subsector while noting that a Canadian company Thor Exploration had started producing gold in commercial quantities through the Segilola Gold Project in Osun state.
The minister who also informed the ambassador that six mining-related clusters, one in each of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, said “Nigeria has a lot of gold and we are developing the sector to attract investment into it. We are richly endowed with diverse mineral assets in varying mixes and proven reserves.
“As we pursue our growth innovations through continued exploration, more mineral types and finds are being discovered. We can confirm that every zone in Nigeria has some minerals to bring to the national table of resource riches. As of today, about 44 minerals have been identified.”
He said activities at the mining clusters would boost the productivity of artisanal and small scale mining, generate wealth and create employment opportunities, adding that the programme is financed by the federal government under the COVID 19 Stimulus Programme.
“The programme comprises the set-up of a Gold Souk (market) in Kano to encourage import substitution, a Gemstone Marketing and Processing Center in Ibadan, a Gold Processing Centre in Mopa-Muro in Kogi State, a Barite Processing Centre in Ogoja, a Kaoline Processing Facility in Bauchi and the Lead Zinc Processing Centre in Abakaliki,” he said.
Ambassador Bertrand in his remarks expressed his country’s interest in the sector, saying “I am just looking to see if there is any possibility of cooperation between both countries as your sector is concerned.”