Enugu— Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has appealed to the Federal Government to consider revoking all dormant licences or leases to the mining fields in the state and re-award them to the state government to operate.
Gov. Ugwuanyi assured that the state government has the capacity and glut of investors who are eager and well equipped to commence mining operations in the state.
The governor spoke when Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; the ministry’s Minister of State, Bawa Bwari Abubakar, and other top officials of the ministry paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Enugu.
The minister and his team were in Enugu State on an inspection tour of mining sites as well as to interact with mining stakeholders in the state, with a view to revitalizing the solid mineral sector in line with the diversification policy of the government.
Gov. Ugwuanyi, while appreciating the Federal Government’s initiatives on reviving the solid mineral sector, frowned at the unpleasant situation in the mining industry in the state basically caused by “the nonchalant and uncooperative attitude of owners of mining leases and licenses for solid minerals in Enugu State,” who he said “are virtually unknown to the state government.”
He said: “ I am sure you are aware that, apart from coal, Enugu State is endowed with other minerals such as limestone, sandstone, lead, zinc and gas. It must however interest you to know that mining leases or licenses for most of these minerals, covering almost every part of Enugu State, were awarded and have been held for years by companies that have shown little or no interest whatsoever in exploiting or extracting the minerals.”
Earlier in his remark, Fayemi, who appreciated Gov. Ugwuanyi’s transformational agenda in Enugu State informed the governor that they were on a nationwide tour of the country’s mining assets, particularly as it affects the South Eastern region.
He added that another aim of the tour was basically to look at the abandoned coal mines in the state such as Onyeama and Okpara mines, with a view to revitalizing them.
He equally said that coal and other mineral resources are very important to the federal government for power generation and economic recovery.