By Kasim Sumaina
The federal government has begun the establishment of artisanal mineral processing clusters for the development of selected minerals in the six geopolitical zones.
The initiative is to ensure effective harmonisation of minerals’ exploitation as well as to derive the right revenue for government.
The Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah, disclosed this during the handing and taking over ceremony of landed property donated by the Ebonyi State government for the establishment of artisanal and small-scale processing clusters for the south-east zone in Abakaliki.
Ogah, in a statement made available to THISDAY in Abuja by the Director of Press of the ministry, Mrs. Etore Thomas, clarified some contrary media speculations that,” he boycotted the initial date of Friday, 29th January, 2021 scheduled for the event.”
Continuing, he disclosed that the overreaching goal of the development of artisanal and small-scale miners would increase efficiency in mining and mineral processing operations; increase mineral production and revenue generation; enhance safer mining practices; boost the ease of doing mining business as well as create employment and wealth for sustainable growth in the sector
The minister who stated that the federal government would soon embark on infrastructural development of the cluster area, revealed that, “upon completion, the cluster will provide common facilities that will enable easy formalisation of the artisanal mining activities in lead/zinc supply.”
He thanked Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, for keying into the programme and providing the land for the project without hesitation, adding that the choice of Ebonyi state for citing the lead/zinc processing cluster was predicated on the fact that it is endowed with large commercial deposits of these minerals.
In his remarks, Umahi urged the media to always verify their story before going to press.
He appreciated the federal government for choosing Ebonyi State as host for the project, saying the processing cluster would develop the south-east immensely.