Kayode Fayemi,SMDF to storm lafia on thursday 14th Towards harnessing internationalopportunities for Nigeria’s barite and metallic minerals, the SolidMinerals Development Fund(SMDF) is to hold a Strategic Roundtable Workshop for the North-Central Zone , in Lafia, Nasarawa State. It is estimated that about 69 to 77 per cent of barite is currently being used worldwide, as a weighting agent for drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration.
Hajia Fatima Shinkafi , the Executive Secretary, SMDF, said in a statement on Monday that similar workshops would be replicated in other zones in the near future. Shinkafi said that the two-day workshop, scheduled to hold between Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, in Lafia, was aimed at effectively repositioning and harnessing opportunities in the sector. “The workshop aims to gain a deeper understanding of solid mineral development, its operations and areas of intervention. “The workshop is also to identify potential partners and donors to the fund, as well as develop an action plan with artisans, and identify linkages for sustainable development in the sector,’’ she said. The Executive Secretary, who said that there was a large deposit of barites in Nigeria, enjoined the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to begin to patronise Nigeria’s huge barite market, in line with the Local Content Act of 2010. Shinkafi said that the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, would deliver the keynote address at the workshop. According to her, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Tanko Umar Al-Makura, will declare the workshop open. “There will be paper presentations by experts on “Mineral Resources and Investment Opportunities of the North Central Zone,’’ and “Diversification and Stimulation of Value Chains of Barite and Metallic Minerals in Nigeria’’. “The President of the Association of Miners and Processors of Barite will also lead a Roundtable discussion at the workshop. “Participants will also pay a courtesy visit to the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Mustapha Agwai II, as well as visit some selected mining sites in Nasarawa State,’’ she added. Most barite produced is used as a weighting agent in drilling muds. Barite is used as a weighting filler in rubber to make “anti-sail’’ mud flaps for trucks. It is the primary ore of barium, which is used to make a wide variety of barium compounds. Some of these are used for x-ray shielding.