ABUJA – The Chairman of the Ebonyi State Chapter of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Monday Okoro, has appealed to the Federal Government to revive the solid minerals buying centre in the South-East geo-political zone.
Okoro told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja that re-vitalisation of the centre would ensure the commencement of exportation of minerals in the zone to the international market.
The chairman said that the centre was built by the Federal Government but had been neglected for a long time.
“The solid mineral buying centre is like a dry port which the government built in Abakaliki.
“It is a place where solid mineral products that are to be exported out of the South-East are to be certified and sent out as if it has gotten to the port.
“It is a place that would have employed at least 100 to 200 people as well as generate revenue for both the state and Federal Government but the place has been allowed to waste.’’
Okoro noted that government needed about N50 million to revive the centre before it could commence operations.
According to him, the major mineral being mined in Ebonyi for international market is lead/zinc while the local ones include limestone, Gypsum granite and sand, among others.
He said the association had been trying to revive the centre but could not, due to certain limitations.
Okoro said there was need for the government to encourage both miners and buyers to take advantage of the centre to buy minerals in Nigeria and export.
The chairman said that solid minerals should not be neglected as they were among primary sources of revenue for the country, if properly developed.
He urged the government to provide funds for the development of mining, adding that the conditions for accessing loans for issues like this were usually stringent.
The chairman urged the government to come up with a policy on how to access mining funds without stress.
He said the association had registered all miners in the state as members of a cooperative to enable them have access to any mining intervention fund when approved.
According to him, 15 mining cooperatives have been registered in Ebonyi so far where three of them get 50,000 dollars each as grant from the World Bank mining intervention fund.
He listed lack of finances and equipment for mining as some of the major challenges facing the sector, adding that they were capital intensive.
“We need funds to buy equipment and we need government intervention but none has come. No miner in Nigeria has received any Federal Government mining intervention except that of the World Bank.’’ (NAN)