The Minister disclosed this when the members of the Association led by its President, Prince Stephen Alao, paid him a courtesy visit at the MMSD Complex in Abuja, on Thursday, 12th September, 2019.
He challenged them to address identified gaps, notably, production of quality barite and ensuring standard price to enable it to compete favourably with the imported one; provision of needed empirical proof of data indicating locations of barite deposits in the country. He stressed that government is willing to create enabling environment and local content policy that would protect local investors.
Arc. Adegbite assured them that the Ministry will collaborate and cooperate with them in creating a platform to brainstorm and initiate strategic action plan that will bring creative solution to issues relating to exploitation of Barite. He added that such endeavour will boost investment in the mining industry and increase revenue generation.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, thanked the group for the visit, and expressed optimism that the members of the association have the requisite skills in barite mining that would change the narratives.
He assured them of the Ministry support, saying “We are trying to run a structure that will be of immense benefit to the association, and if you are well organised we are here to collaborate with you to succeed.”
He charged them to be genuine and committed miners to ensure integrity and openness in their dealings in order to realise their goals.
Speaking earlier, Prince Stephen Alao said Nigeria has the largest deposit of barite in Africa located in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba, which if properly harnessed could contribute immensely in terms of generating of employment and infrastructures development in the country.
According to him, proper exploitation of barite has been hindered by numerous challenges, including misconception of barite business in Nigeria.
He opined that for a remarkable progress to be made in barite mining there is a need for adequate funding and unbundling of barite from other solid minerals mining.
The Acting Permanent Secretary, Mr. Zacchaeus Atte, commended them for their commitment and dedication in promoting barite mining and encouraged them to join hands with the Ministry in enhancing the mineral sector to ensue national growth.