The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and the Senate Committee of Solid Minerals Development have renewed the commitment of government to the growth and development of the mining sector through the ongoing formalization of Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM) in the country.
They agreed that the initiative, which is being executed in line with global best practices, will make ASM operations more beneficial to the economy.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite who pledged the commitment of the Ministry during the first Public Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on Formalization of Artisanal Miners into Cooperatives and Small Miners into Large Mineral and Financial Enterprises, recently, in Abuja, said formalisation of ASM activities represents improvement in means of livelihood of a large number of Nigerians.
Media Officer in the Ministry, Theodore Agbagwa quoted the minister as saying that “formalization of the activities of the Artisanal and Small-Scale miners is the only tried and tested pathway across the globe to retain the economic and social benefits, and manage the negative environmental, social health and the safety impact of ASM activities.”
The Minister expressed concern that Artisanal Miners are not only untrained but also ill-equipped, adding that they operate with crude implements which have dare consequences on human and environment safety.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals who was Governor of Nassarawa State, Senator Tanko Almakura, described the mining industry as a revenue earner and hope of the country’s future.
He assured stakeholders that the Senate is willing to make laws that will create legal framework that will make the sector more vibrant, thereby creating multiple jobs.
Almakura explained that creating enabling environment for Artisanal Miners in terms of finance and security, will lead to tremendous success.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr Edet Sunday Akpan said the Federal Government is working on a credit facility from the International Development Association (IDA) to fund the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) project.
Mr Akpan explained that formalization of Artisanal Miners into cooperatives and by extension, Small-Scale Miners into Larger Mineral and Financial Enterprises, as well as the implementation of an ASM Remote Sensing Monitoring System in the Mining and Steel Sector are particularly important in the resolve to comprehensively reform the sector.