The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) of the Federal Government has taken a significant step towards driving the growth of the mining sector and improving the Nigerian economy. In a bid to implement sustainable projects, the MMSD has established a kaolin ore processing plant in Alkaleri, Gwaram local government of Bauchi State.
During the inauguration of the project on May 16, 2023, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite emphasised the importance of involving critical stakeholders in the optimal utilisation of Nigeria’s vast mineral resources. The objective is to generate substantial direct and indirect employment opportunities, foster wealth creation, and enhance the country’s GDP.
Recognising the diversification efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Adegbite highlighted that the newly constructed kaolin ore processing plant signifies a shift from raw material exports to the exportation of processed materials. This transition adds value to the products and leads to higher profitability.
The permanent secretary of the MMSD, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade expressed her delight at the commissioning of the industrial plant, emphasizing its significant economic value and potential for industrial utilisation. She assured that the ministry would continue to prioritise the development of the sector, contributing to national growth.
Akinlade further noted that this project, along with five others established across each geopolitical zone of the country, aimed to address the impact of the recent global pandemic on the overall economy and specifically the minerals and metals sector.
In a goodwill message, the acting president of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Alhaji Musa Muhammed commended the cluster development project and the efforts of the ministry under its current leadership in developing the downstream value chain of the solid mineral sector. He emphasised that this would accelerate the economic agenda of the current administration.
Muhammed suggested that the Kaolin industrial cluster could be sustained in Bauchi State, given the existence of over 20 documented kaolin mining sites in Alkaleri and Kirfi local governments, as well as eight companies with operating licenses. He highlighted the readiness of over 20 small and medium kaolin milling plants registered under the Bauchi Kaolin Millers Cooperative Society to collaborate with this significant project.
However, the MAN’s representative, Mr. Bello Galoji requested further intervention in the form of equipment leasing facilities to improve the operations of artisanal small-scale miners. This support would contribute to increased trade volume within established clusters.
The national president of the Women in Mining in Nigeria, Engr. Janet Adeyemi, represented by Mrs. Piwuna, stated that the establishment of the industrial plant in Alkaleri would greatly benefit the economy of Bauchi State and the entire nation.
In a statement by the ministry’s head of press, Chinwe Ekwugha, Adeyemi expressed the desire for the northeast to take advantage of the proximity to market supply for industries that require kaolin as a raw material. She stressed that the initiative was timely and critical in supporting the sector’s recovery and growth.
Adeyemi also highlighted that the commencement of the plant is expected to create more job opportunities for women across various sectors in the state.