27 March 2021 By Georgina Humphrey
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite has assured Nigerians that the creation of regional mineral projects in the six geopolitical zones will increase revenue in the sector .
Adegbite made this known during an interactive in Lagos with stakeholders in the sector.
The Minister said the Federal Government had received funds to establish regional projects as a way of cushioning the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on businesses by giving priority to minerals where each of the geopolitical zone has comparative advantage.
He said the government is building a plant to process Kaolin in Bauchi from the North East, adding that the completion would bring to an end the importation of Kaolin.
The minister who stressed that Bauchi is very rich in Kaolin which is used in pharmaceuticals and the paint industry, explained that the Federal Government is building a plant to process Kaolin, while a gemstone market will also be built in Ibadan in the South Western Zone where value will be added”
He said the government would develop the Barite production in Ogoja, Cross River States in the South South geopolitical Zone to discourage the exportation of raw lead by building a lead processing plant in Ebonyi in the South East so that the State would be able to export lead.
A gold smelting plant according to him, would also be situated in Kogi State for the North Central Zone due to its gold deposits as a way of supporting the Artisanal Miners in the State.
Adegbite mentioned that Kano was selected from the North West Zone for establishment of a gold souk as a way of bringing back the old story of gold trade in Kano.
“What we are doing in Kano essentially, is not just a market, we are going to have people in the market who can turn the gold into product by transforming raw gold, add value which can give us jewelries”he further explained.
He also added that the Federal Government is fine tuning plans to enable Nigerians use their gold as collateral for loans as well as bring back the goldsmith trade in the country.
The Minister however stated that the Federal Government would not be involved in running the business in the six zones but explore the Public-Private- Partnership initiative.
The Minister noted that a lot of work has been done towards the completion of Ajaokuta Steel Plant but for the pandemic which prevented the arrival of the Technical Auditors.
He was hopeful that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would ensure completion of the Steel Plant.