The Bauchi State government has revealed its intention to tap into the potentials of the kaolin processing plant cited in the state to grow its revenue base.
The state governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed, made this known when he received the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, who paid him a courtesy visit after inspecting the plant in Bagurja/Sabuwa Gwaram, Kaleri local government area of the state.
Mohammed, who commended the Federal Government for the gesture, said the state will take advantage of the abundant kaolin mineral in the area to improve its revenue profile.
The governor said the state has recognised that mining is on the ‘exclusive list’ and assured the minister of his state’s preparedness to cooperate with the government as a sub-national entity. He further emphasised the need for the state to look inwards and take advantage of its abundant mineral resources to meet its financial obligations.
“We will fulfil our responsibility in respect of the provisions of the constitution, to ensure that community relations and community engagement are good. [These can bring] investors to come in and, of course, as a sub-national, nobody stops us from owning and participating in mining activities,” he said.
Mohammed appreciated the minister for taking time off his busy schedule to visit the clusters in the six geopolitical zones to monitor, evaluate and have an on-the-spot assessment of job already done. “If we have been working like these as federal officers, then things would not have been the way they are. Public officers would have been in a position to know what is happening outside the comfort zones of their offices. Here you are; despite the insecurity, the perception and negative narratives, you have shown yourself a patriot.”
Earlier in his remarks, Adegbite explained that the establishment of the clusters across the six geopolitical zones is part of government’s efforts to stimulate the economy after the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are going through a process that we feel that any mineral mined in Nigeria should be processed locally so that there will be some beneficiation. We are losing a lot of wealth as well as our jobs by exporting raw ore.
“As a demonstration of that, we chose to use the money that we received to establish processing centres in the six geopolitical zones of the country. The one for the Northeast Zone has been established in Bauchi,” he stated.
He said the establishment of the kaolin processing plant in Bauchi would put an end to exportation of raw kaolin and importation of the industrial-grade variant for pharmaceutical companies in the country.
“Kaolin is in abundance here, let’s process kaolin to industrial-grade for pharmaceutical companies here in Bauchi and what we are doing is like a pilot programme. There is a lot of kaolin here and there is room for other investors, maybe, in a different local government to also process kaolin,” he added.
The minister noted that kaolin is used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, paint and paper industry and emphasised the need to mine it, create wealth, jobs and generate revenue for the government.
While inspecting the Kaolin Processing Cluster in Alkaleri, Adegbite expressed satisfaction at the level of work done.
He said kaolin produced in Alkaleri would be processed and used locally while the excess could also be exported.
Adegbite said what the government has done in the six geopolitical zones is to develop abundant minerals abundant in the zones and demonstrate possibilities to would-be investors that they can replicate the processing plant in another belt, taking advantage of what is being produced there.
“We have kaolin here; that is why we have decided to process here so that you don’t have to transport them a long way. The plant is in the middle of a kaolin belt, where a lot of people and artisanal kaolin miners can just bring it here to be processed the hybrid way,” he stated.
A statement by the ministry’s director of press, signed by Idowu Jokpeyibo, said Adegbite encouraged investors to invest not just in mining but also in processing, as he emphasised that whatever is mined in Nigeria must be processed in the country.
The minister said Nigeria currently has over 44 minerals and has only established six processing zones; an indication that there is room for more investors.