Arc Olamilekan Adegbite , the Minister of Mines and Steel Development has hinted that the establishment of Mining Clusters across the six (6) geopolitical zones will boost the productivity of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners (ASM), thereby generating wealth and creating employment opportunities for Nigerians.
The Clusters, according to the Minister,are Federal Government intervention projects to cushion the adverse effects of COVID-19 and jumpstart the economy.
Adegbite gave this hint on Thursday in Ugaga, Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State during an inspection of the ongoing work at Barite Cluster Processing Plant.
This is a contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Director, Media and Public Relatios, Mrs Etore Thomas explained that the establishment of Barite Cluster in Ugaga was necessitated by the abundance of Barite in the area.
The statement reads: “ The Barite Processing Plant is sited in Ugaga because of abundance of Barite in this location and the need to reduce logistics for the processing, as localisation of industries at the sources of raw materials minimises logistics overload.
“When completed, Barite would be processed in Ugaga and shipped to Port Harcourt selling point where buyers and exporters could buy them”, he added.
The Minister, however assured that the plant when completed, would not be run by government but by experienced and knowledgeable experts who have wherewithal to run it on behalf of the Federal Government.
He noted that the plant would also provide services to Barite miners. “Miners of Barite can bring it here to sell to processors or mill their Barite to America Petroleum Institute (API) standard at reasonable cost” .
Adegbite who carried out the inspection alongside the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade and the Director, ASM, Mr Patrick Ojeka, said the factory when operationalised, would increase the sector’s contribution to the Nation’s GDP.
Earlier in her remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Dr Akinlade called on Barite miners to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by this huge investment, to enhance and improve productivity of Barite in the country.
This, according to her, would save Nigeria foreign exchange currently being spent on Barite importation.