BY KHALID IDRIS DOYA, Bauchi
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite has said that the ban on exportation of raw Ore is still in force since November 2021 as the government will see any contravention of it as economic sabotage.
“Now, what we are doing is that, the domestication policy has been passed since November 2021 but because capacity is still growing in that sector, if you come to us for an export permit and we realize that what you want to export in the raw form, we have capacity to develop it in Nigeria, we would not allow that, but like I said, this is an invitation for entrepreneurs businesses from within Nigeria and outside to come and invest.”
The declaration was made by the Minister in Bauchi while answering questions from Journalists shortly after he commissioned the multi-million Naira Kaolin processing plant sited in Bagurja, Gwaram, Alkaleri Local government area of Bauchi State.
The minister explained that the Bauchi Kaolin Ore Processing plant is to process Kaolin needed for the use of the pharmaceutical industry in the country stressing that efforts should be made to embark on dry processing for the paint and other industries.
He said that Nigerians in the mining industry are aware of the law banning exportation of crude Ore, saying if anyone is working legally in Nigeria under the law, he/she must come to the Ministry to get a permit.
The minister therefore assured that many people of the North-East subregion including women in mining will benefit from the operations of the newly commissioned Kaolin processing plant in Bauchi stressing that the Federal Government will continue to involve women in the process of empowerment.
Olamilekan Adegbite said, “I want to assure you that women are well represented though they are not one of the people who stood in the sun here today, but they are well represented.”
The Minister added that, “The Capacity of this plant is about 40 tons per hour. That means more people will be fully engaged in the process in order to meet the target, this translates to employment.”
Asked if it will add to the Federation account in terms of revenue generation, the Minister answered that, “It is not so much about what goes into the federation account, this is going to be a value chain that will create wealth for people, it is not about much money that comes to government, the Federal government did this not to earn money but to expand the sector.”
“We have a domestication policy to enhance it. If you are selling raw Kaolin and then you are processing it, the price difference is exponential, if you are earning N60,000 in selling raw, you could be making about N6m for the same weight, that is the difference.”
“Here, they will be processing and selling, this is also a demonstration for other entrepreneurs that this is possible and they can also do it. The output from here annually cannot satisfy the local market, you heard what they said, the pharmaceutical industry use the wet Kaolin to be processed here, but you have the ceramic industry, paint industry, cosmetics who use the dry one, this does not produce dry, so there is room for other people to even invest in the processing plant.”
Olamilekan Adegbite stressed that the benefit of the programme by the Federal Government grant ultimately is that, “We are expanding the Sector, we are going to save a lot of foreign exchange, pharmaceutical industry will no longer import Kaolin, paint industry, ceramic industry, cosmetics will buy locally to save foreign exchange, will create wealth within that chain and everybody is happier with it.”
“You don’t have to get involved in mining, there are a lot of people who produce raw Ore and because we are saying that you can’t export in that raw form, they either sell to people who will process or give it to processors for a fee and then they export themselves,” the minister said.
On his part, Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed has said that the governor said the state government is determined and ready to continue to work with Miners Association of Nigeria, Kaolin Millers Association, Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMC) and all other stakeholders on how to improve the value chain of the raw material.
Bala who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Ibrahim Kashim, said his administration had established the Ministry of Natural Resources in 2020 with the aimed of complimenting Federal Government’s effort in streamlining the activities of solid mineral resources in addition to repositioned the Bauchi Mining and Exploration Limited (BAMSEL).
According to him, so far, the Bauchi Mining and Exploration Limited has acquired 17 Licenses comprising 9 Exploration Licenses, 7 Small Scale Mining Leases and 1 Reconnaissance Survey Permit which makes it rank top in the North-East sub region.