Port Harcourt — Cross River State Government has advocated for a strong synergy in the area of solid minerals development and database generation with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, NGSA.
Cross River State Commissioner for Solid Minerals Development, Mr George O’Ben-Etchi, during a visit to the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency in Calabar, said the synergy will involve solid minerals prospects identification, database generation and development.
O’Ben-Etchi explained that intelligence sharing and team work in the field between NGSA and the state, would help in the development of the sector in order for it to deliver on the gains and mandate of the solid minerals sector in Cross River State.
The Commissioner noted that his ministry is interested in ensuring that international best practices are strictly adhered in the state and lauded NGSA’s involvement in the statewide mineral mapping exercise of 2018.
He announced that new mineral deposits have been identified in some communities in the state, emphasizing that his ministry would need to work with NGSA, for further investigation to ascertain the veracity of the findings.
He listed some of the challenges facing his ministry and solicited the support of NGSA in rectifying them for the over all good of the State.
This challenges inlcude, “illegal mining, solid minerals being listed on theother’s Federal Government’s exclusive list without consideration of the land owners, community development agreement irregularities, environmental, health and safety issues, site reclamation, amongst others.”
Responding, the Deputy Director, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency, Calabar, Mr. Esu Ayara, appealed to the State government to be proactively involved in the solid minerals industry in order for the state not to be found on the receiving end after the dividends of the sector has been exhausted.
Ayara hinted that Cross River State was already susceptible to losing solid minerals deposits in border communities with neighbouring states, if it does not take immediate actions.
He noted that the synergy between the State and Federal governments would definitely do both parties, greater good, adding that information sharing by both parties, is an important step in the synergy.
Meanwhile, Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has approved the appointment of a 13-man board to drive solid minerals development sector in the State
The appointment which is with immediate effect has Mr. Bernard Boniface Edet, as Chairman of the Board with 12 others as members.