Nigeria to make $300m yearly from barite, says minister
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has said Nigeria stands to generate $300 million from barite yearly.
He observed that no country could develop by selling raw materials, adding that Nigeria would get more economic value by processing its natural endowments.
Addressing a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja, the minister submitted that barite would create more jobs for Nigerians, as requisite facilities are to be made in the country and billions saved.
Adegbite said government is interested in the commodity because “it’s going to be market-driven to diversify the country’s economy.”
The minister continued: “We are going to save $300 million yearly, that is more than enough because for every mineral that is mines in Nigeria, we get a royalty. So, government is going to get royalty from barite, and from the way we have structured it, Nigeria would make more money.
The imported barite is used in the oil and gas industry, he noted, explaining that the resource is domiciled within the Benue trough (Benue, Taraba and Adamawa states and fringes of the North (Nasarawa, Plateau and Gombe), as well as the southern fringe of Cross River.
On his part, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, said the made-in-Nigeria barite would also create economic opportunities for miners and employment for the teeming population.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, said the move was consistent with the ministry’s mandate to grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s diversification agenda.
She acknowledged that a lot of work had gone into developing the oil sector through the launch of the locally made barite.
Akinlade commended the leadership of the ministry for the effort and the official unveiling coming up on October 28 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.