Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has pledged to partner with the Barite Miners Association and Processors to deepen productivity and promote meaningful development of the resources to the economy.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite gave the promise when the President of the association, Mr. Stephen Alao paid a visit to him in Abuja alongside other members on Friday.
At the meeting, Adegbite challenged the association “to address identified gaps, notably, production of quality barite and ensuring standard price to enable it compete favourably with the imported one.”
The minister stressed that federal government “is willing to create enabling environment and local content policy that will protect local investors.”
He assured the association that the ministry would collaborate with the miners “to create a platform to brainstorm and initiate strategic action plan that will bring creative solution to issues relating to exploitation of Barite.
“Such endeavour will boost investment in the mining industry and increase revenue generation. You need to come up with provision of needed empirical proof of data indicating locations of barite deposits in the country,” the minister explained.
Also at the meeting, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah expressed optimism that the members of the association had the requisite skills in barite mining that would change the narratives.
He assured them of the federal government’s support to develop a structure that would be of immense benefit to the association.
“If you are well organised, we are here to collaborate with you to succeed,” he added.
He charged them to be genuine and committed miners to ensure integrity and openness in their dealings in order to realise their goals.
On his part, Alao said that Nigeria had the largest deposit of barite in Africa located in Benue, Nassarawa and Taraba, which if properly harnessed would lead to job creation and infrastructures development.
According to him, proper exploitation of barite has been hindered by numerous challenges, including misconception of barite business in Nigeria.
He noted that for a remarkable progress to be made in barite mining there was a need for adequate funding and unbundling of barite from other solid minerals mining.