Nigeria wastes millions of dollars annually on barite importation, Minister laments

MINISTER of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite, on Thursday, lamented the rising cost of importing barite into Nigeria, describing it as an anomaly that has eroded net revenue and depletes resources meant for development.

“With each import of barite, the country ships thousands of jobs to other countries. The ministry’s long term plan is to place a ban on the importation of barite and close the demand and supply gap that currently exists.” He declared.

He made this known in Abuja during a stakeholders’ forum on local barite development in Nigeria.

The minister said the evidence from the recent demand and gap analysis showed that out of the total value of Nigeria’s industrial minerals imports in 2016, barite represented 3.6 per cent, saying the country spent millions of hard-earned dollars every year importing barite, a mineral Nigeria abundantly endowed within the northern part of the country.

Architect Adegbite said in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for a more diversified, inclusive and sustainable economy, the Federal Government initiated bold mining sector reforms that would deliver the objectives of the ERGP in restoring growth, investing in the people and building a globally competitive economy.

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In line with this objective,​ according to him, the ministry facilitated the development of an industrial mineral road map aimed at optimizing Nigeria’s industrial minerals to meet the standards of the manufacturing, industrial and construction industry and to reduce import dependency.

“We have mapped out a development strategy towards creating a sustainable industry in Nigeria to support, regulate and monitor stakeholders along the Barite value chain. This process will assist local companies with proven reserves that meet the industry standards to develop capacity. We are creating a new framework that would promote the local production of barites that meets international acceptable standards.

“This is why I am quite delighted to initiate a road map for the development of barite that would reverse this trend. We are creating a new framework that would promote the local production of barites that meets international acceptable standards.” He stated.

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