The federal government plans to establish solid mineral processing centers in six geopolitical zones of the country. Speaking at the Nigeria Mining Week of 2020, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adebegite, said that the hubs would be quoted close to the locations of artisan miners. He made this known by addressing the topic of artisanal and small scale mining: “the urgent need to make adequate policies”.
According to him, the ministry will consult with the artisan mine groups to understand their requirements and to reach a consensus on the type of processing hub required. “We have some interventions around mining on a regional basis. We are considering bringing a processing center for the artisans’ miners in a particular area. “There will be hubs in six geopolitical zones across the country. We will consult with them before deciding on the kind of processing center that will be required. “He noted that small-scale mining constituted between 85 percent and 90 percent of mining activities in the country.
He said that artisans should be encouraged to create employment and wealth for the country.Instead of classifying them as illegal, the minister said it would be better to bring them together and provide incentives for them to flourish. He said, “In the ministry, we have set up a remote sensing station and we are working with satellite companies to identify areas where the artisans are mining.”
“When this is done, we send out troops with handcuffed equipment, identify them, take their matrices and engage them on the benefits that they bring together as a group . “Adbegite said that the government has been able to create 400 groups of artisan miners and provide them with funding opportunities.
“Many artisan miners cannot use these funds due to circumstances. They are now guaranteed to pay and pay the money within a period of only six months.
Hazia Fatima Shinkafi, executive secretary of the Solid Minerals Development Fund, said that most of the artisans were miners who looked for additional income during the farming season away from mining activities to earn a living.It expressed support for initiatives that aimed to equip miners with safe guides and bring them into the regulatory framework by licensing and opening bank accounts for them.
He said, “Formalizing is not an easy task. It is not profitable and what the private sector investor would like. It requires a multi-pronged approach and should be a collaborative effort and will be politically larger than all stakeholders involved. “
Also, speaking, Managing Director, nivek Mining, Kevin Joseph, stated that safety, environment, trust, care and excellence were important in any mining activity.
He said that Nigeria mining projects should benefit communities and be facilitated by the federal and state government. This, according to him, will ensure continuous employment for the people and create a safe mining environment.