The President of Association of Miners and Processors of Barite (AMAPOB), Stephen Alao, yesterday lamented that Nigeria loses over N5 billion worth of foreign exchange annually to the importation of barite by the oil and gas industry.
Alao also said at the commencement of the barite laboratory testing in Gboko, that the country had enough high quality barite to meet local demands but it resorted to importation of the solid mineral causing job losses, infrastructural deficiencies and a strain on the local mining sector.
The president therefore appealed to players in the sector to look inward to help the country conserve jobs and foreign exchange.
“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,” he stated.
Alao said the industry needed teamwork and be precision-driven, urging stakeholders to abide by standards to further bring AMAPOB closer to the goal of becoming a de facto player in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
He applauded the tenacity of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for maximally developing the mineral which had become strategic in the exploration and production of oil and gas.
Earlier, the Assistant Director, Laboratories of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Jerome Agada, called on government to develop policies that would encourage the use of locally sourced barite in the oil and gas industry.