The roadmap which was developed by the World Bank assisted Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project, was presented today at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Center, Abuja.
Speaking at the presentation, the Honourable Minister, MMSD, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari referred to industrial minerals as minerals and rocks that have wide range of industrial and domestic applications as raw materials or additives for filling and coating purposes amongst other uses.
The Minister recalled that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development had, in 2016, launched a “Roadmap for the Growth and Development of Nigerian Mining Industry” that seeks to build a world class minerals and mining ecosystem that would serve targeted domestic and export markets.
He noted the adopted strategies in the 2016 Ministry Roadmap to include, initially focussing on using local industrial minerals endowment to support industrialization; providing support to the private sector which owns and operates mining projects; as well as creating domestic demand through increased value addition activities that would facilitate the production of mineral commodities of required specifications.
“The desire to implement these strategies, informed the decision to appoint a National and International Consultant on Industrial Minerals to carry out a demand gap analysis of industrial minerals required by the local manufacturing industries as well as produce a roadmap for its development”, he added.
Conclusions from the study, according to him revealed amongst others, that a gap of 626,921 tonnes per annum exist in the local production of industrial minerals required by the local industries which he said is currently being filled by annual importation costing about $44.5m.
The Minister said the study also revealed that local industrial mineral producers, produce mostly crude and semi-processed products, which he believed, do not meet the required specifications of the end users. The fact that inadequate production capacity is mostly as a result of challenges in accessing financing, the lack of necessary mineral processing equipment, infrastructure and power was also stressed.
He believed that the world class deposits of industrial minerals that exist in the country could be developed and exploited to fill existing gaps and exported to conserve and increase foreign exchange earnings for the country.
“The developed roadmap that would be presented today seeks to facilitate competitive local production of industrial minerals commodity of required specifications by providing strategies for skilled labour development, improved access to finance, resolution of security issues, improvement in infrastructure”, he explained
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Project Coordinator, Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project; Mr. Linus Adie said Industrial Minerals are vital raw materials that underpin almost all aspect of life.
“Globally, industrial minerals form over 70% both in volume and value of mineral production, industrial minerals are the building blocks in the construction, chemical, agricultural and food, oil and gas, fashion, electronics and optical industries and several others”.
He lamented the dependency of the country on imported industrial minerals, in spite of her rich endowment with a myriad of industrial minerals spread across the country in varying mixes and proven reserves.
The World Bank Practice Manager, Energy and Extractives, Christopher Sheldon in his remarks, stressed the importance of industrial Minerals, considering its benefits for the people, the domestic economy as well as investment.
He opined that Nigerian could be a mining destination again if more attention is paid to the mining sector. He thereafter assured Nigerians of World Bank continuous support of the sector.