The Federal Government has secured five hectares of land in Cross River for the establishment of artisanal and small-scale mining in the South South region.
This is part of the initiative to establish artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) clusters in the country’s six geopolitical zones.
The government is focusing on artisanal and small-scale mining activities as it constitutes over 90 per cent of the mining industry in Nigeria, a statement signed by the Head, Press and Public Relations at the ministry, Etore Thomas, stated.
It added that the clusters would be for selected minerals for effective harmonisation of their exploitation to derive revenue for government.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, stated this in Calabar during the handing and taking over ceremony of the landed property donated by the Cross River State Government for the establishment of ASM processing clusters for the South South region of the country.
Ogah described the development of artisanal and small-scale mineral processing plant cluster project as an initiative of the FG in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that had ravaged the world.
The Governor of Cross River State, Benedict Ayade who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, disclosed that the state readily approved the five hectares requested for by the ministry for the cluster project as it would be a major centre of activity for barite artisanal and small-scale miners in the South-South Zone.
He stated that the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of land for the project would be ready for collection soon.
Ogah further said, “In continuing effort to revive and grow the economy for sustainable development through the mining Sector, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has embarked on the development of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) Clusters for selected minerals in the six Geopolitical Zones for effective harmonisation of their exploitation to derive the right revenue for government.”
He explained that the government would agglomerate artisanal and small-scale miners, customers and other stakeholders, based on geographical proximity, which would promote efficiency, increased specialisation in minerals exploitation and marketing to generate desired revenue, job and wealth creation.
He disclosed that the Federal Government choice of Cross River State for the siting of the cluster for barite value chain development was based on the fact that the state is endowed with large commercial deposits of the minerals.
He added that the criteria for selection was based on availability of raw materials.
The minister thanked the State Government for its speedy response to the ministry’s request for providing and handing over the title deeds of the land.