Ebonyi state government has barred communities where mineral deposits are found within the state from engaging Investors without clearance from it.
The state Commissioner for Solid Minerals, Chief Donatus Njoku who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Abakaliki at the weekend said the essence was to enable government know those who are genuine Investors coming into the state.
“There are people who we call speculators in the sector. They are the people who will come, get licenses and claim to be Investors but when given job, that is when they will start looking for another Investor. And there are other people who will come and get license, but it will take them 10 to 15 years before they will start doing something and these are the kind of people we don’t want”, he explained.
He said “government equally want to be sure that somebody through back door does not get an Investor into the state and he will be given peanut or a situation where an Investor after signing agreement will want to lord over our people.
“So we want a situation where both the Investors, government and the community will all get their rights in full”.
Chief Njoku said, following the crash of oil price which has had adverse effect on the federal allocation, the state government has resorted to harnessing its mineral deposits to enable it continue with ongoing effort to develop the state.
He noted that the state was blessed with mineral deposits such as Lead, zinc, Granite, Marble and Limestone for cement production,etc; but government was looking for partners to enable it survey them and determine their quantities and qualities before engaging Investors.
“The problem we have is that to invest in this sector is capital intensive and for you to actually prove to the world that you have this minerals, you must first of all carry out a survey to establish the quality and quantity of what you have. And those data is the only thing that can attract Investors. So because of the challenges of the economy, we have not been able to do that, but we are looking for partners to help us do the survey”, he added.
The Commissioner assured that as soon as government began to harness the mineral deposits, jobs would be created for the teaming unemployed youths and revenue would also be generated into the government’s coffers to be channelled towards the development of the state.

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