THE Federal Government, on Friday, urged the miners and processors of baryte in Nigeria to process their products to the required standard that would attract patronage from the oil and gas companies operating in the country.
It further told them to strive to separate the associated products through beneficiation with a view to bringing about maximum benefits and import substitution.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, made this appeal during his meeting with mining stakeholders in Benue State, including members of the Association of Miners and Processors of Barite (AMAPOB) and Benue State Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (BECIMA) at Torkula Village in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
He added that with such results it would be easier to meet the relevant arms of government to seek collaboration and secure needed infrastructure intervention such as access roads and rails for product evacuation.
In a statement issued and signed by his Special Assistant, Media, Olayinka Oyebode, a copy of which was made available to SaturdayTribune in Abuja, the minister also urged oil and gas companies in Nigeria to embrace the Made-in-Nigeria campaign of the present government by patronizing baryte sourced from the country, which was of high quality.
On relations with host communities, the minister said that when the communities were made to enjoy certain percentage of equity stake, they would defend their operations with full dedication and ensure a peaceful host community/industry relations.
One of the operators in the area, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Polyguard Industries Nigeria Limited, Mr Patrick Odiegwu, said that given appropriate technological support, local demand for baryte could be easily met.
He lamented the infrastructural deficit and low patronage by most oil and gas companies in the country, adding that the quality of local baryte at 4.3 specific gravity was remains the best in the world.
Odiegwu wondered why many oil companies in the country continued to import baryte while high quality of the product abound in the country.