Nigeria spends $300m annually on barite importation -GCFRNG
Nigeria spends $ 300 million on importing barite every year, according to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite.
Adegbite made the disclosure upon receipt of the preliminary report from the National Integrated Minerals Exploration Project (NIMEP) on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, imported barite is used in the oil and gas industry.
He said the Federal Government had finalized plans to launch its locally made barite on October 28 as part of efforts to promote Nigerian barites and boost the economy.
Adegbite said that 50 bags of barite would be unveiled on the launch date to encourage barite miners as well as investors to invest in barite.
According to the minister, the ministry is monitoring the quality of the barites that are being produced and getting entrepreneurs to develop a robust bagging system that meets international standards.
“This process is to satisfy our local industries, oil and gas and also to export the product to our neighboring countries like South Africa and Ghana that have just discovered oil.
On the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP), a report submitted by two contractors handling gold and barite exploration to the ministry, the minister expressed satisfaction and said that this had indicated that Nigeria was on the right mining path.
“Mining is about data. We cannot do mining without data. With the exploration carried out by these contractors, we are reducing the risk of the sector and we will be able to attract the right investment to the country.
NIMEP is a project, designed by the Federal Government to carry out integrated exploration to de-risk the Nigerian mining sector and provide geoscience data to obtain the minerals needed for the fourth industrial revolution.
The objectives of NIMEP are to generate geoscience information in Greenfield and Brownfield environments through integrated exploration methodologies and its objective is to stimulate the desired investment in the sector, to generate foreign exchange, among others.
Adegbite pointed out that the NIMEP project started by his predecessor, Governor Kayode Fayemi, the then minister, had indicated that 15 billion naira was invested in exploration projects.
According to him, it is necessary to maintain the projects, noting that additional funds are required for further mineral exploration.
Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, described the event as a great day for the sector, as two of the five contractors managing the NIMEP project had submitted their reports.
Akinlade said the ministry will submit a robust NIMEP report to President Muhammadu Buhari as soon as the remaining contractors submit their reports, adding that this could attract more funding for the next phase of the project.
Akinlade promised adequate security to all NIMEP contractors as they continue exploration, adding that the government was doing everything possible to safeguard lives.
Dr Abdulrazak Garba, Director General of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, said the exploration contracts were awarded after going through the ministerial selection processes and the Office of Public Procurement.
Garba said NIMEP was a flagship effort by the ministry in line with the government’s diversification efforts, aimed at rapidly generating exploration data.
He said that the result obtained so far suggests new areas with anomalous concentrations that, if confirmed to be considerable, have the potential to become projects.
According to him, NIMEP’s advocacy efforts have put the nation in the spotlight and all eyes are on Nigeria.
Yunusa Mohammed, NIMEP Chief of Secretariat praised the minister, permanent secretary and other ministry staff who made the project a success.