The huge deposits of silica, glass and clay sands in Akwa-Ibom State will be exploited as avenues for wealth creation, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Sampson Ogah has said, stating that the Federal Government desires to collaborate with the government of Akwa-Ibom State to exploit mineral resources in the State.
The minister, who sought the support in Uyo on Thursday, during a two-day working visit to Akwa-Ibom State, encouraged Governor Udom Emmanuel-led State Government to embrace the vision and policies of the Federal Government for the development of the nation’s solid minerals and metals industry, stating that the cooperation of the state was necessary for an orderly development and efficient exploitation of mineral resources.
Discussing the need to sensitize mining operators and members of host communities in Akwa Ibom State on safe mining methodologies, the minister emphasized the need to carry out mining activities in a safe and environmentally-friendly manner as provided by law, in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
Press Officer in the ministry, Tine-Iulun Maureen, who confirmed the development to our correspondent, through a press statement on Friday, said: “Dr Ogah disclosed that efforts are being made to restore the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) to productivity,” adding that the Federal Government is building a prosperous nation through the diversification of the economy while lifting Nigerians out of poverty.
He said the resuscitation of the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria for sustainable commercial operations has become necessary in this regard.
The Minister, while saying that exploitation and utilization of the nation’s mineral’s resources would serve as the formidable foundation for industrialization, stressed the need for collaboration in the areas of provision of access-road to sand-dredging sites, maintenance of peace and security in sand dredging communities, ensuring adequate sensitization of the people of Akwa-Ibom State on the constitutional role of the Federal Government, as well as improving communication and information-sharing between the Ministry and State Government.
Dr Ogah noted that the establishment and sustenance of mutual synergy and partnership will benefit both Federal and State Government, as it would increase revenue generation for sustainable growth, create employment opportunities and provide economic empowerment of host mining communities.
He pledged the support of the ministry to enhancing mining activities in the State.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, appreciated the Federal Government for its resolve to revive the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, adding it would increase the revenue generated from the mining sector in the State. He said “I will personally monitor the progress of the AISCON project.”
The governor affirmed agreed that collaboration between the Federal, State and other relevant stakeholders would ensure the smooth running of mining activities as well as increase revenue generation in the State.