The Federal Government says the country will use the developed roadmap to attract local users to look inwards for their sources of industrial minerals inputs.
Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bwari, said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a MinDiver stakeholders’ workshop on roadmap for the development of Nigeria’s industrial minerals.
Bwari said: “In 2016, we launched a “Roadmap for the Growth and Development of Nigerian Mining Industry” that seeks to build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem that will serve targeted domestic and export market for minerals through confidence rebuilding.
“It is also aimed at winning over domestic users of industrial minerals that are currently imported; expand domestic mineral process industry; and competitively return to global mineral markets.”
Bwari said that the adopted strategies, as contained in the roadmap include, initially focusing on using local industrial minerals endowment to support industrialization.
He said it would also provide support to the private sector which owned and operateed mining projects by building overall competitiveness through improved infrastructure and ease of doing business.
Bwari added that the roadmap would create domestic demand through increased value addition activities that would facilitate the production of mineral commodities of required specifications.
He said that roadmap study showed that a gap of 626,921 tonnes per annum existed in the local production of industrial minerals required by the local industries currently filled by annual importation costing about 44.5 million dollars.
Bwari said that the study showed that ground calcium carbonate, ground mica, titanium dioxide, granite blocks, gypsum, talc and barites were established as the most valued imported industrial mineral products imported in the years 2014 – 2016.
He said: “The study shows that local industrial mineral producers produced mostly crude and semi-processed products, which did not meet the required specifications of the end users.
“Also that inadequate production capacity is mostly as a result of challenges in accessing financing, lack of necessary mineral processing equipment, infrastructure and power among others.
“Again, that world class deposits of industrial minerals exist in the country which could be developed and exploited to fill existing gaps and exported to conserve and increase foreign exchange earnings for the country.”
According to him, the developed roadmap that will be presented seeks to facilitate competitive local production of industrial minerals commodity of required specifications by providing strategies for skilled labour development.
He said it would also improve access to finance, resolution of security issues, improvement in infrastructure, especially railway and the use of low energy cost that would facilitate the production of competitive industrial mineral products.
Linus Adie, Project Coordinator, MinDiver, said that industrial minerals could be used in all aspects of life and that Nigeria was blessed with lot of minerals deposit.
Adie lamented that with all the mineral deposit, the country still imported industrial minerals.
Christopher Seldom, World Bank Practice Manager, said that the roadmap had lot of benefits, saying that Nigeria was a mining destination in the past and could go back to it if more efforts were geared towards improving the sector.
Seldon said that with the roadmap, the country would achieve a lot in the area of mining.
He said that World Bank was ready to support the country to improve the sector Victor Correia, International Consultant, said that it was important to carry the stakeholders along, to achieve the objective of the sector.
Correia said that the mineral and mining sector in Nigeria was underdeveloped.
He added that the sector could provide wealth to many Nigerians if more efforts were put to achieve the roadmap.