The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, has hailed the production of the made-in-Nigeria brand of barite as a direct result of several efforts and fruitful collaboration amongst stakeholders.
Adegbite made this statement during the federal government’s launch of the barite yesterday in Port Harcourt. The formulation of the brand of barite is part of its plan to reduce the total dependence on the nation’s crude oil reserves and promote the growth of the mineral sector.
While appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari for the unwavering support given to the mining sector, Adegbite noted that the current administration has demonstrated an unflinching commitment to the growth of the sector.
Highlighting some positives of the barite initiative, Adegbite said it would bring about accelerated development of the sector along the barite value chain, increase revenue to government through royalty payment and conservation of foreign exchange hitherto spent on importing barite, as well as create jobs along the barite value chain and promote local content in line with federal government’s policy.
“The bags of barite we are presenting today meet the American Petroleum Institute (API) standard, which is the global bench-mark accepted by the oil industry,” he explained.
The minister recalled that barite is one of seven strategic minerals designated for top-priority development by the Nigerian government.
A statement from the ministry’s director, press, Idowu Jokpeyibo, said barite occurs within the Benue Trough (Benue, Taraba, Adamawa States) and its fringes to the north (Nasarawa, Plateau and Gombe) and the southern fringe (Cross River). Major occurrences are discoverable in Zamfara.
Adegbite disclosed that an open marketplace Portal that would connect all stakeholders along the product’s value chain would soon be commissioned.
“The open marketplace portal connects all stakeholders along the barite value chain to a hub that allows for easy coordination, stocking, effective costing and seamless sale of barite while the ministry coordinates the entire process,” he said.
Adegbite further explained that the open marketplace solution would be integrated with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to ensure prompt remittances of government revenue
In his speech, the executive governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesom Wike, represented by the deputy governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, congratulated the minister for the feat achieved while and thanked the government for choosing to launch the product in the state.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, said barite is one of over 44 solid mineral types found within the country, many of which are largely unexploited.
“In our commitment to deliver on Mr President’s mandate, we have not only rejigged our vision and mission but have developed and adopted new [set of] reform initiatives and innovative strategies to ensure optimal performance and sustainable growth in the minerals and metal sector,” he further explained.
In her closing remarks, the permanent secretary, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, said the ministry aligned with the strategic and visionary diversification agenda of the government through the roadmap to completely rejuvenate the sector for national prosperity.
There were goodwill messages from the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, group managing director, NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari and the executive secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote.
Barite is a vital mineral to the development of the Nigerian oil and gas sector. It plays an essential role as a weighting material in drilling muds used in oil and gas drilling, primarily to prevent the explosive release of gas during drilling. It is also used in the plastic, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, paper making and paint industries.