Ban Importation Of Barite – Association Urges FG

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The Association of Miners and Processes of Barite has appealed to the Federal Government to stop giving waivers to oil and gas industries to import Barite.

Mr Patrick Odiegwu, National Publicity Secretary of the association, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja, adding that such waivers were encouraging the oil and gas industries to neglect the local product.

NAN reports that Barite is a mineral primarily used in the oil and gas industry worldwide; the product is used as a weighting agent in drilling mud in the sector.

Barite is also used in a wide variety of other applications, including plastics, clutch pads, rubber mud flaps, mould release compounds, radiation shielding, television and computer monitors and sound-deadening material in automobiles.

The product is available in abundance in almost all the states of the country, but the foreign oil and gas industries in Nigeria prefer to import the product.

“They meet the government with wrong presentation to convince it that the product is not available in Nigeria; they argue that there is no accurate data to support availability of barite in Nigeria.

“This is so untrue,” Odiegwu said.

He recalled that barite used during Sani Abacha’s regime by the oil and gas sector were sourced locally, adding that there should be a deliberate policy to ensure that laws binding barite in the country were adequately enforced.

“The Nigeria Content Act, which backs barite development, was passed into law in 2010 and stipulates that 60 per cent of barite utilisation in the country must be sourced locally.

“We are appealing to government officials to respect the law and consult the association to ascertain the availability of barites in the country; honestly, we have highest grade of barite.”

Odiegwu also urged the oil and gas industry players to patronise local product as more job opportunities would be created to boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create more opportunities for the youth. (NAN)

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