The Kogi State government would consolidate on the idea of a gold processing cluster to diversify the state’s economy.
The state governor, Yahaya Bello, said this against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s flag-off of a gold processing cluster in Mopa, Mopamuro Council Area of Kogi State.
The project, according to Oluwatoyin Akinlade, permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, who led the Federal Government team to the flag-off event, was part of the government’s efforts to refocus the economy from oil dependence.
“We thank Mr President for this project. This will spur the economy of the state. It will create jobs and make Kogi the economic hub of the country,” said Governor Bello, who was represented by Kingsley Fanwo, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication.
“It will increase the trading of the state. This underscores the economic blueprint of the state government in making the state a giant amongst other states in terms of industrialization,” he said.
He promised that the state would ensure the proper security of the project, urging stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunities.
Speaking earlier, Akinlade said the gold processing cluster, which would cater for other gemstones and solid minerals mining activities in the country’s north-central region, was expected to be commissioned and become operational by June.
“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 zones,” Akinlade said.
“The objective of the project is to assemble 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,” she said.
The permanent secretary said the mining cluster would 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 the creation of market access.
“Furthermore, the cluster shall be adequately equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for the purpose of imparting modern mining expertise and knowledge into the teeming youths across the north-central zone. Provision shall also be made for heavy equipment such as excavators leasing by the artisanal miners,” she said.