By Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia
As part of efforts to enhance its internally generated revenue (IGR), Abia state government is considering setting up a mining company to fully exploit the solid mineral potential of the state.
Floating a mining company was part of the assignments given to the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MREMC), which was inaugurated by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to ensure best practices in the exploitation of the solid minerals deposits in Abia.
Ikpeazu said that the proposed mining company must have prospect for profitability hence the committee was expected to carry out feasibility studies and advise government accordingly.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Eme Okoro, gave the committee other terms of reference including setting up a mechanism for the documentation, registration and institutionalisation of solid minerals mining cooperatives in the State.
He also urged the committee “to explore the concept of clustering those cooperatives as part of the philosophy for the strategic economic development of Abia and explore the possibility of partnering with the federal government, other national and international agencies engaged in solid minerals development.”
The eight-man committee was also asked to suggest ways of eliminating illegal mining by documenting and registering illegal miners in Abia state and make any general or specific recommendations “that will allow Abia state government benefit maximally” from development of solid minerals.
Chairman of the committee, Dame Chimechefulam Nwoko, who is also the permanent secretary Abia state ministry of environment and solid minerals, promised that the team would hit the ground running and deliver on the assignment.
Other members of the committee include Sam Hart, senior special assistant to the governor on public communications, who is the secretary, Obioma Ezeogbulafor, special adviser to the governor on trade & investment, Uchenna Onyeizu, SSA to the governor on environment, Chinenye Nwaogu.
Others are the SSA to the governor on youth development, Ethelbert Eze, Director Cooperatives, Ministry of Economic Development, Isaac Nwachukwu, representing the ministry of justice and Chinedu Iro, representing the public private partnership (PPP) agency.