30 March 2021 By Georgina Humphrey
Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is working towards auctioning its bitumen block in the third quarter of the year.
The Minister, Olamilekan Adegbite made this known today when he hosted the Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria John Donnelly, in his office in Abuja
Adegbite revealed that the ministry was still gathering data on some of the bitumen field and was close to completion.
He noted that there were ample opportunities for investors in the local development of bitumen.
“A lot of people are interested in bitumen which is coming from both local and foreign investors but however, we are still acquiring data in some of the fields and once the data is ready we will go for auctioning in the third quarter,” he said.
Adegbite also explained that the ministry was working on raising the quality of barite produced in the country to internationally acceptable standard which is known as American Petroleum Institute, API, standard.
The minister added that the ministry had contracted a consultant to help raise standard in the local production of barite to ensure that the oil industry players begin to use barite produced in Nigeria as against importing from other countries.
He noted that there was ample opportunity for investors in the barite segment of the sector.
Adegbite also said that Ajaokuta steel plant was meant to be a game changer for the country when fully functional, stressing that about 13 other minerals were required in the production of steel.
He noted that Ajaoukta steel would have brought development to the 13 other minerals which would have presented opportunities for investors to develop and would have created thousands of jobs for Nigerians.
Adegbite however expressed regret that the pandemic had slowed down the plan to resuscitate Ajaokuta steel plant.
He revealed that the travel restrictions and cumbersome protocols had prevented the 60-man technical audit team from Russia from coming to Nigeria to perform a comprehensive technical audit of the plant.
Adegbite also explained that the ministry had been working with artisanal and small scale miners, creating an enabling environment for them to operate in the formal sector.
On his part the Australia High commissioner to Nigeria John Donnelly, expressed his country’s willingness to work with Nigeria to develop the mining sector.