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Stakeholders decry importation of barite


Barite. Photo/Hausen Rock Treasures Wholesale

The Association of Miners and Processors of Barite (AMAPOB), has raised an alarm over the continuous importation of barite, saying such acts are retarding the Nigerian economy as well as threatening the realisation of the African Mining Vision.

This was the conclusion at the Barite Miners Congress held in Lafia, a statement on Sunday indicated, adding that the barite value chain development is capable of spurring job creation and industrialisation in Nigeria.

Barite, which exists in commercial quantity in Nigeria, is a solid mineral that is inevitable in the exploration of oil and gas.

The Association said: “In order to fully realise the economic and social benefits of the African Mining Vision (AMV), the Federal Government of Nigeria must exercise the political will needed to ban the importation of barite and also ensure that marketing and pricing of the commodity is effectively regulated as a strategy to ensure development of local content.”

The Acting Chairman, AMAPOB Board of Trustees, and Emir of Azara, Dr. Kabiru Ibrahim, decried the extent to which the development of Nigerian local content has been ignored.

He said: “Nigeria was an oil producing nation and we know that oil cannot be produced without barite; there is barite in Nigeria, yet barite is still being imported to drill Nigerian oil.”

The monarch was emphatic that indigenous mining and processing companies in the country have the capacity to produce the quantity and quality of barite needed in the exploration of oil, urging Nigerian industrialists to consider the lucrative idea of mining and processing barites for export to other oil producing nations.
Assuring government of the competence of indigenous miners to meet quality and quantity requirements of barite needed, he recalled that the Nigeria Content

Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), and AMAPOB synergised to enhance capacity of miners of barite, while the international oil companies worked on a design for its mining mechanisation.

Ibrahim further recalled that in 2014, Chevron supported the initial takeoff with the contribution of bulldozer, excavator, wheel loader, a low bed, two tipping trucks, other vehicles and a compressor that aided in the mechanisation process.

“We have been using the equipment and learning mechanisation in the process, and it has enhanced production,” he said, adding that “the Association continues to reach out to members in order to optimise production.

While commending the NCDMB for the role it played in forging a path for successful barite and bentonite development in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, he also urged it to address the issue of pricing.

He said AMAPOB has confidence in the Board to regulate the marketing of barite, to pave the way for development of local content and encourage the growth of indigenous mining companies and the Nigerian economy.

The President, AMAPOB, Prince Steve Alao, reiterated the call for information on the quantity of barite needed in the oil and gas industry as a prelude for planning barite mining/processing.

This, he noted, would enable adherence to the Local Content Act, which stipulates for 60 per cent of locally-sourced barite. “This law appears to be observed in breaches,” he said.

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