By Merit Ibe
As part of efforts towards revitalising the manufacturing sector, the Non-Metallic Mineral Products Sectoral Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has partnered the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) to look inward for raw materials.
The MAN Sectoral Chairman, Afam Mallinson Ukatu, who doubles as the managing director/CEO, NISPO Porcelain Coy Ltd, noted that the partnership was sealed during an interactive meeting with RMRDC recently in Lagos.
He pointed out that the alliance will help in sourcing alternative raw materials for the sector.
“The decision was necessary, given the paucity of foreign exchange, difficulties experienced at the ports, high cost of foreign raw materials and the fluctuating value of the Naira with the recent soar in inflation rate.
“Non-Metallic and Mineral Products Sectoral Group of MAN consists of industries that produce glass, cement, ceramic, chalk, crayon, lime and allied products.
“The sector has experienced a quantum leap in its activities in the last 5 years thereby contributing significantly to the diversification of the economy which is in-line with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) initiative of the Federal Government.” He said it was gratifying to note that the sub- sectors such as the cement, glass, ceramics have recorded huge improvements leading to significant contributions to the national GDP in the last three to five years.
He decried the restraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the sector, adding that scarcity of forex gave rise to acute shortage of raw materials as well as intermediate inputs.
“It was in this regard that the sector unanimously agreed to look inward and source their raw materials locally. And as such, acknowledged RMRDC as the appropriate agency to handle this issue, owing to the pre-existing relationship with MAN and previous research efforts in ensuring ease of sourcing raw materials for cement, ceramic and glass products in Nigeria.”
In his presentation, titled, “The efforts of RMRDC in the development of raw materials for the Non-metallic Minerals sector with reference to cement, ceramics and glass,” the Director, PPDD, RMRDC, disclosed various locations of some of the major raw materials that are used in the non-metallic and mineral products sector.
According to him, most breakthroughs of RMRDC in the non-metallic minerals sector are; “Development of scrubber for the beneficiation of gypsum in the cement industry. The equipment which was test run and met the specification of 85 to 90 percent purity, a standard required by cement and POP industries. This has ensured import substitution of POP by 15 to 20 percent. Physico-chemical characterization of limestone deposits across the country, which has revealed the suitability of high quality marble/limestone for the production of cement, powder filler for paper, rubber, paint, calcium carbon, etc.
“Development of calciner to produce calcined kaolin with capacity of 10 tonnes. This has been patented and a pilot plant has been installed at RMRDC model demonstration centre, NASREA, Abuja. Establishment of pharmaceutical grade kaolin plant at Kankara, Katsina State and industrial grade kaolin plant located in Gwarzo, Kano State; both of which have catalyzed the proliferation of many cottage level kaolin processing plants in Katsina and Kano states. Development of high and low temperature ceramic glazes from locally available raw materials and technical and economic feasibility studies of local production of glaze.
“Collaboration with Niger State government to establish a processed talc catalytic model factory at Kagara, with most of the equipment being locally fabricated; which has the capacity of 3000 tonnes a year of processed talc. Collaboration with Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) to process talc ore from Kagara, Niger state and Isanlu, Kogi state into cosmetics grade talc that met the requirements of cosmetics industry. Establishment of soda ash plant for production through trona method, and production of feasibility study report on the establishment of soda ash production plant by synthetic method. Collaboration with Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) to develop process technology for the production of sodium silicate from rice husk; and production of analytical grade chemicals and reagents such as copper sulphate, ferrous sulphate, ammonium sulphate, amongst others.”
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