By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA—The Federal government, yesterday stepped up efforts at diversifying the nation’s economy with a groundbreaking ceremony of the Gold Processing Cluster, located in Mopa, Mopamuro Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Oluwatoyin Akinlade, who led the Federal government’s team for the event, said the project was part of the government’s efforts at refocusing the economy from heavily depending on oil.
He said the gold processing cluster would also cater for other gems stones and solid mineral mining activities in the North Central.
According to him, “The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has commenced the implementation of programmes aimed at establishing and accelerating mineral value chain activities through the development of a Mineral Mining cluster in each of the six geopolitical zone.
“The objective of the project is to assembly and coordinate the activities of the artisanal and small scale miners in the identified areas based on the identified mineral type for each geopolitical zone.
The mining cluster is to provide common facilities and coordinated activities to enable easy formalization of the artisanal miners in the identified zones and avail them an opportunity for mineral value addition, as well as creation of market access.
“Furthermore, the cluster shall be adequately equipped with state of the art equipment for the purpose of imparting modern morning expertise and knowledge into the teeming youths across north Central zone. Provision shall also be made for heavy equipment such as excavators leasing by the artisan miners.”
The Permanent secretary added that the project was expected to be commissioned by June ending of June.
On his part, Governor Yahaya Bello of the state said the state government would consolidate on the gold processing cluster in diversifying the economy of the state.