The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, has received the report of the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project, NIMEP, disclosing that the ministry will begin to mine and refine barite soon.
Mr. Adegbite, who received the report in Abuja, said that the move would promote local production and attract investors.
He added that the Ministry would solicit more funding for exploration projects in other mineral resources.
Recall that the Federal government in 2018 initiated the National Integrated Mineral Exploration Project, NIMEP, to de-risk the mining sector and provide Geo- Sciences data.
The project was designed to take advantage of known metallogenic belts in the country for the exploration of gold, nickel, chromium, cobalt, rare earth minerals, lead-zinc, silver, copper, barite and ore resources.
Its objectives were to generate Geosciences information in Greenfield and Brownfield settings through integrated exploration methodologies aimed at spurring the desired investment into the mining sector to generate foreign exchange, substitute for import, develop local industries, generate employment and create wealth along the mineral value chain.
Earlier, the Director General, Nigeria Geological Survey Agency, Dr. Abdulrazak Garba, explained that the project was working on the mining of various mineral deposits across the country.
Dr. Garba stressed that the project in its design ensured the use of international Competent Persons, CP, in the execution of the contract and in the consulting team to ensure compliance with international best practices.
The NGSA Director General explained that the exploration contracts were awarded after passing through ministerial and Bureau for Public Procurement screening processes.
One of the contractors of the Project, Dr Warwick Crowe, noted that the exploration technique being used, was effective and would be used for the exploration of other minerals.
Dr. Crowe added that the project has gone through five phases which include Desktop studies, spectral geology and processing and interpretation of existing airborne data in the first phase.
He said in phase two there are Geological Mapping, Sampling Pitting, Trenching, Sample Preparation on completion, while in phase three are sample analysis from three media, ground geophysics survey and interpretation, Acquisition and interpretation of Ground.
Other phases are drilling and analysis and lastly integration of data and reporting.
Barite is a natural mineral found in parts of the country.