The Federal Government, on Thursday, launched the made-in-Nigeria barite, saying it would save the country the foreign exchange spent on the importation of the product.
Barite is used as a weighting material in oil and gas drilling, primarily to prevent the explosive release of gas and oil during drilling.
The Minister of Mines and Steel, Olamilekan Adegbite, who spoke at the launch, said barite was among the seven strategic minerals designated for top-priority development by the ministry.
According to him, the ministry will commission an open marketplace portal that will connect all stakeholders along the barite value chain to a hub that allows for easy coordination, stocking, effective costing and seamless sale of barite.
The minister said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had been unwavering in his support for the development of the solid minerals sector.
Adegbite said, “We have facilitated the development of an industrial mineral roadmap to optimise Nigeria’s industrial minerals to meet the standards of the manufacturing, industrial and construction industry so as to reduce import dependency.
“The desire to facilitate local production of these minerals was geared towards conserving foreign exchange and creating jobs and wealth for the citizenry. Some of these minerals include calcium carbonate, kaolin, barite, gypsum and mica.
“With improved funding, spurred by the visionary leadership of Mr President, we have recorded remarkable results and progress with the road map objectives, which is evident in the launch of the Nigerian barite today.”