President of the Association of Miners and Processors of Barite, AMAPOB, Mr. Stephen Alao has disclosed that Nigeria loses over N5 billion foreign exchange annually to the importation of barite by the oil and gas industry.
Alao, who made the disclosure yesterday at the commencement of barite laboratory testing in Gboko, stated that the country had enough of high quality barite to meet local demands and appealed to players in the sector to look inward to help the country conserve its foreign exchange earnings. He noted that importation of barite had led to loss of jobs, infrastructural deficiencies and a strain on the local mining sector.
He said: “Today marks another milestone to the realization of a barite sufficiency drive of the government. This day has been slow coming, but it is here, and we rejoice that we are all gathered to witness and establish once and for all, the actual range of the quality of barite obtainable in Nigeria for the nation’s oil and gas industry.”