The Federal Government said it has embarked on the development of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Clusters for selected minerals in the geopolitical zones for effective exploitation to derive the right revenue for the government.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu S. Ogah, disclosed this in Calabar,during the taking over ceremony of landed property donated by the Cross River State Government for the establishment of Artisanal and Small-Scale processing clusters in the South-South zone.
Ogah also revealed that the development is an initiative of the Government in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world.
He said: “in order to curtail the devastating effect of the pandemic on the means of livelihood of Nigerians, Mr. President approved the implementation of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, which entails the development of ASM to harness the revenue from the Mineral sector.”
Similarly, Ogah explained that the Ministry is focusing on small-scale mining activities, which constitute over 90% of the mining industry, saying that the clusters will increase specialization in minerals exploitation and marketing to generate desired revenue, job and wealth creation.
His words: “The Government’s choice of Cross River State for the siting of Barite Value Chain development was based on the fact that the State is endowed with large commercial deposits of the mineral.”
Earlier, Governor Benedict Ayade, who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, hinted that the state readily approved the five hectares requested for the project, as it would be a major centre of activity for barite in the South-South.
He also said the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of land for the project would be ready for collection very soon, and commended the Minister for the fairness and magnanimity in choosing Cross River as home for the barite cluster project.