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FG optimistic development of mining clusters will grow economy, revenue

As part of efforts to grow the Nigerian economy through mining, the Federal Government has embarked on the development of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) clusters for selected minerals across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

The clusters would facilitate effective harmonisation of the ASM’S exploitation activities and boost revenue for the government

Uchechukwu Ogah, minister of state for Mines and Steel Development, speaking at the handing/taking over of a five-hectare land donated by the Cross River State government, for the establishment of the ASM’S cluster for the South-south zone, in Calabar, said the move would add to boost the nation’s economy.

Ogah, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the development of the clusters across the six geopolitical zones was an initiative of the Federal Government in response to the economic impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic.

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According to him, in order to curtail the effects of the pandemic on the means of livelihood of Nigerians, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the implementation of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan which entails the development of artisanal and small-scale mineral processing clusters to harness revenue from the mineral sector.

Ogah further stated that the ministry was focusing on artisanal and small-scale mining activities, as they constitute over 90 percent of the mining industry in Nigeria.

He said the development of the clusters was based on geographical proximity and would promote efficiency, increased specialisation in minerals exploitation and marketing to generate the desired revenue, job and wealth creation.

He disclosed that the Federal Government‘s 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, adding that the criteria for selection was based on the availability of raw materials.

Speaking also, Governor Benedict Ayade, of Cross River State, who was represented by Ivara Esu, the deputy governor, said the state readily approved the five hectares of land requested by the federal ministry for the siting of the project.

He stated that the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of land would be ready for collection very soon.

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