By: Achiane Adams CRS-MOI Officer reporting for Min. of Solid Minerals Development

Cross River State Governor, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade, has declared open a 2-day Mining Stakeholders" Forum, hosted by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development with the theme, 'The Role of Stakeholders in Combating Illegal Mining And  It's Effects In Cross River State", at the Conference Hall,  Gomays Plaza Hotel, Calabar.

Sir Ayade, who was represented by the Commissioner for Solid Minerals Development, Rt. Hon. George O'Ben-Etchi, commended the Federal Mines Office,Calabar for the forum, saying that it is a long time coming as illegal mining in all ramifications, should not be encouraged as its activities are against mining International best practices.

"Budding Miners should rather form Cooperatives instead of engaging in activities that are a drain to them and other Stakeholders, involved. As cooperatives, you have access to funds set aside to support Artisanal Miners.

"This forum should be taken seriously by all of us. Ask questions, share experiences and profer solutions that will help straighten out issues in the sector and make Cross River State a model for other States to follow.", he said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Federal Mines Officer, Cross River State, Engr. Mayowa Omosebi, said the forum is to share ideas and views on best practices in the mining sector and how to curtail illegal mining in the industry.

Engr. Omosebi expressed optimism that Stakeholders, after the forum will be able to educate themselves on how to do things right in order to have a sector that is sustainable in Cross River State and Nigeria.

Expressing displeasure at the way the Federal Government has unfortunately kept the State at bay as regards to Solid Minerals being in the exclusive list of the Federal Government, the Member representing Boki 2, Cross River State House of Assembly and Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals Development, Rt. Hon. Hillary Bisong, called for the laws to be reviewed to accommodate both the State and Local Government Areas, as they are the first land owners and experience first-hand, the harzards associated with exploitation of the mineral resources

A paper on 'Harmonizing Multiple Taxation', was presented by the Commissioner for Solid Minerals Development, Rt. Hon. George O'Ben-Etchi.

Other papers slated for presentations  are; Community Development Agreement, the  Role of Security Agencies in Mining Matters and Improved Synergy with All Stakeholders: An Imperative for a Successful Mines Field Surveillance

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