The Cross River Government has secured operational licenses from the Federal Government to establish its own Cement Factory and Limestone Quarry in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the state.
Mr George O’Ben-Etchi, the Commissioner for Solid Minerals Development, made the disclosure on Wednesday in Calabar when he met with the newly appointed members of the state Solid Minerals Development Board.
“We have our licenses for the state’s Cement Plant (CROSSCEMCO) and Limestone Quarry.
“According to the governor’s plan, the two projects amongst other things, will feed the construction of Super Highway Project,’’ he said.
The commissioner stressed the need for members of the board to work as a team with all stakeholders in the sector to realise the overall aim of the government.
He advised the members to put aside their individual interests and work for the development of the state.
“Everybody’s opinion should be given equal attention; make use of what is necessary today and save the rest for tomorrow.
“Use our collective initiatives to work and not wait for the governor; you are appointed to support him and make his work of developing the state’s economy easier.
“We have to think outside the box to be able to understand his vision.
“I and the entire workforce of the Ministry will work with your board and any other board to achieve and maintain success,’’ O’Ben-Etchi said.
He said that his ministry had begun sensitising the host communities on the need to guard what they have by not issuing out letters of consent to intending Quarry Operators.
He accused quarry operators of going through the back door to get mineral deposits.
He warned that the ministry would no longer tolerate such illegal deals by quarry companies.
“We are saddled with finding out those who have or do not have licenses, those whose licenses have expired and have renewed or have refused to renew them in order to take them up to the appropriate authorities,’’ he said.
O’Ben-Etchi said that efforts were being made by the government to involve the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in providing motorable roads in the mining communities.
“Since one of the major challenges the operators are faced with is bad road network, we have started discussions on how the NDDC can be brought in to build roads to ease the movement of trucks to and from the mining sites, ‘’ he said.
In his response, Mr Offiong Yellow-Duke the Chairman, Solid Minerals Development Board, expressed appreciation to the government for finding them worthy to serve.
He promised that the board would do its best to work with and support the Ministry to develop the solid minerals sector in the state.
“As a board, we will work as a team, share ideas and welcome contributions.
“We will not move faster than our shadow and your willingness to work with us will guide the board to attaining its goals,’’ he said.