The federal government has commissioned a barite processing plant in Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
This forms part of efforts to ban the importation of barite and promote its local production.
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 River 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.
“The choice of Ugaga, as a location for the barite processing plant is predicated on its possession of rich deposits of barite among the South-South State and its closeness to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where the processed barites are required for oil exploration in line with local content and value addition policy in Nigeria.
According to Minister, with the location of the barite processing plant in Ugaga, artisanal and small-scale barite miners within the zone can easily have access to the plant for their barite processing before further transportation and sales.
In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, noted that the facility would be processing barite according to the international API standards, making it suitable for export to other parts of the world to generate foreign exchange.
In October 2021, the Federal Government launched the made-in-Nigeria barite project, saying it would save the country the foreign exchange spent on the importation of the product.