The Federal government has launched Barite Processing Plant to minimize the high rate of illegal mining and smuggling in South-South geopolitical zone of the country, which was stated by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, during the commissioning of Barite Processing Plant in Ugaga, Yala Local Government Area, of Cross River State.
In 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.”
The Permanent Secretary of Mines and Steel, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, in her address explained that the aim of the projects in each geopolitical zone is to develop and create more job for people across the zone.