By: Achiane Adams, CRS - MOI Officer reporting from the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development

The Cross River State Commissioner, Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Rt. Hon. George O'Ben-Etchi, has advocated for a strong synergy in the area of Solid Minerals database generation,between his Ministry and the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency.

Rt. O'Ben-Etchi,Who stated this during a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency in Calabar, said the synergy will  involve Solid Minerals prospects identification,databased generation and development,adding that intelligence sharing and team work in the field by both MDA 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 the Ministry is interested in ensuring that international best practices are strictly adhered to in the State and lauded the Agency's involvement in the Statewide mineral mapping exercise of 2018.

 He noted further that  information reaching his desk from the zonal offices, indicated that new mineral deposits have been identified in some Communities,emphasizing that  the  Ministry would need to work with the Agency for further investigation to ascertain the veracity of the findings.

The Solid Minerals Development Boss intimated his host of some pressing challenges facing the Ministry,including illegal mining, Solid Minerals being listed on the exclusive legislative list without consideration of the land owners, Community Development Agreement irregularities, environmental, health and safety issues, site reclamation,amongst others and solicited the support of the Angency in rectifying them for the over all good of the State.

The Geologist In-Charge, Deputy Director, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency,Federal Secretariat,Calabar,  Mr. Esu Ayara, while welcoming the Commissioner and Management Staff of the Ministry, noted that the synergy between the State and Federal governments  would definitely do both parties, greater good, emphasized that information sharing by both parties,  is an important step in the synergy.

Mr 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.

He further hinted that the State is already susceptible to losing solid minerals deposits in border lands with neighbouring States if it does not take immediate actions.

The Deputy Director, Technical Operations in the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. John Uke, thanked the Agency the warm reception accorded the Commissioner and his team,pointing out that the visit has opened their eyes to many benefits of the synergy.

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