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    Saturday, May 13, 2023

    FG Unveils Barite Processing Plant, Plans Import Ban

    Official commissioning of Barite Plant

    The federal government has formally inaugurated barite processing plant in Cross River State.

    In an effort to ban the importation of barite and promote its local production, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, has commissioned a barite processing plant in Ugaga Community, Yala LGA, Cross River State.

    Speaking at the inauguration of the barite processing plant, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, noted that its location in Ugaga, Cross State was significant due to the rich deposits of barite there.

    He said, “I am delighted to address you on this August event, which marks the commissioning of the Barite Processing Plant in Ugaga, Cross River State, South-South, Nigeria.

    According to a statement by the ministry’s Head of Press, Funmi Imuetinyan said that the news launched plant will create over twenty thousand jobs along the mining value chain in the South-South zone area.

    Adegbite noted that the plant would improve revenue generation of the ASM subsector operators and government, adding that the project will increase the rate and exports of value-added products, and services and attracting foreign and local investments.

    He said: “It is instructive to know that Barite Processing Plant is designed with facilities to beneficiate, test, certify, document, and effect necessary payments for royalties and processing fees required to support local exploitation of oil and the international market. The facility houses state-of-the-art barite processing machineries and equipment, over 30 stalls, administrative block, training section, MMSD office, stable power supply.

    “It may also interest you to know, that the Ministry of Mines and Steel under my leadership and Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, as a matter of Strategy, prioritized the ASM to stem incessant illegalities that have fraught the subsector in Nigeria by initiating and supporting biometric data capturing of all registered artisanal and small-scale miners across the country under the formalization and mainstreaming of ASM operators.

    “We are presently creating an ecosystem to minimize the high rate of illegal mining and smuggling, increase Government’s revenue from the resource, create jobs, and improve environmental and social stewardship. The Minister regretted that the informal trading of unprocessed barite leads to revenue and job losses.”

    Adegbite stressed that the landmark project is in line with the current administration’s resolve to anchor its economic diversification agenda on two key sectors of Mining and Agriculture,

    In her address, the Permanent Secretary of Mines and Steel, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, explained that the aim of the projects in each geopolitical zone is to develop and create more job for people across the zone.

    She said: “Six projects were conceptualized, out of which a Barite Ore Processing Plant was designated for Ugaga in Cross River State. Barite is a “utility mineral” that can be used for various purposes ranging from crude oil drilling to pharmaceuticals. we are indeed blessed as a people.

    “To the glory of God, the project has been completed and we are here today to witness its commissioning. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me point out at this juncture, that the facility here, will be processing barite to the International API standard, making it suitable for export to other parts of the world in other to generate foreign exchange. It is a laudable project.”

    It was reported that the Federal Government was working with TotalEnergies to invest in mining the country’s barites reserves.

    It was also reported that professional bodies such as the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, and universities offering petroleum engineering in states where Nigeria has barite reserves were also involved in the project.

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