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Nigeria spends $300m annually on barite importation

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Nigeria spends 0m annually on barite importation

By Francisca Oluyole

Nigeria spends $ 300 million on importing barite every year, according to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite.

Adegbite made the revelation when receiving the preliminary report of the National Integrated Mineral 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 made plans to launch its locally made barite on October 28 as part of efforts to promote Nigerian barite and stimulate the economy.

Adegbite said 50 bags of barite will be unveiled on the launch date to encourage barite miners and also to encourage investors to invest in barite.

According to the minister, the ministry carries out quality control on the barite produced and encourages entrepreneurs to develop a robust bagging system that meets international standards.

“This process aims to satisfy our local oil and gas industries and also to export the product to our neighboring countries such as South Africa and Ghana which have just discovered oil.

Regarding the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project (NIMEP), a report presented by two entrepreneurs in charge of gold and barite exploration to the ministry, the minister expressed his satisfaction, saying that this had indicated that Nigeria was on the good mining track.

“Mining is all about data. We cannot mine without data. Thanks to the exploration carried out by these entrepreneurs, we eliminate the risks of the sector and we will be able to attract the right investments to the country.

NIMEP is a project designed by the federal government to conduct integrated exploration to reduce risks to the Nigerian mining sector and to provide geoscientific data to capture the minerals needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The objectives of NIMEP are to generate geoscientific information in the Greenfield and Brownfield environments through integrated exploration methodologies and it aims to stimulate desired investments in the sector, generate foreign exchange, among others.

Adegbite noted that the NIMEP project launched by his predecessor, Governor Kayode Fayemi, the then minister noted that N15 billion had been invested in exploration projects.

According to him, there is a need to support the projects, noting that additional funds are needed to continue exploration for minerals.

Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, permanent secretary of the ministry, called the event a big day for the sector, as two out of the five entrepreneurs who run the NIMEP project had submitted their reports.

Akinlade said the ministry will present a strong 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 safety to all NIMEP contractors as they continued to explore, adding that the government was doing everything possible to protect lives.

Dr Abdulrazak Garba, director general of the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, said the exploration contracts were awarded after going through the selection processes of the Ministry and the Bureau of Public Procurement.

Garba said NIMEP was a flagship effort of the ministry in line with the government’s diversification efforts, aimed at quickly generating exploration data.

He said the results so far suggested new areas with anomalous concentrations which, if confirmed to be significant, could become projects.

According to him, NIMEP’s promotional efforts have put the nation in the spotlight and all eyes are on Nigeria.

Mr. Yunusa Mohammed, Head of the NIMEP Secretariat congratulated the Minister, Permanent Secretary and other ministry staff who made the project a success.

Source: NAN

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