The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development through the Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver), has commenced the engagement of relevant stakeholders as a strategy to ensure inclusion of stakeholder-input in the review of legal and regulatory frameworks and various operational guidelines for the country’s mining sector.
The MinDiver Project is a $150m World Bank credit facility approved for the Nigerian mining sector in 2017. The project, which has tenure of five years, is being executed under the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and aims to enhance the mining sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product by strengthening the laws, key government institutions, improving information infrastructure and knowledge while fostering investment in the sector.
Discussing the aim of the meeting, Project Coordinator of MinDiver, Engr Salim Salam explained that the meeting, which held at the Ministers Conference Room, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development on Wednesday, aimed at “sensitizing stakeholders in the minerals and mining sector and all other stakeholders that are concerned with environment.”
“We want them to know that the opportunities afforded by the MinDiver project to cushion their operations and so we desire their input,” he said.
“We want to work with stakeholders in our effort to achieve the deliverables of the project, so we want all relevant stakeholders to work with us for the realization of set goals,” he said, adding that the goal is to realize national economic diversification through the development of the mining sector, such that the sector would become a major revenue-earner for the federal government.
According to the Project Coordinator, “The federal government has identified the mineral sector as one of the gateways to economic diversification; the MinDiver project will pay a role that will lead to rapid increase of mining activities, including beneficiation and processing of solid minerals.”
“There is no doubt that the activities will trigger a lot of environmental and social issues which can also trigger agitations.
“In order to address these foreseen challenges, the MinDiver project decided to engage stakeholders in order to review extant rules and regulations with a view to ensure that the laws and operational guidelines are well equipped to address challenges that might arise.”
The Project Coordinator explained that “because mining is highly related to environmental issues, the project execution requires the advice and support of relevant stakeholders,” adding that some guideline guiding mining operations in the country are over twelve years and need review.
He commended stakeholders for honoring the invitation adding that review of regulatory framework is crucial since regulations must be able to address emerging challenges in the sector. He therefore encouraged stakeholders to share their challenges and experiences, assuring that regulations will be updated to address challenges.
He expressed concern that unless the laws are reviewed to address emerging challenges, it could hamper the realization of set goals.
At the meeting, among copies of existing guidelines which were distributed to stakeholders include “Operational Guidelines for Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) 2017,” “Guidelines for the Production of Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Program Report 2006,” and the “Guideline for the Production of Community Development Agreement in the Solid Mineral Sector, 2014.”
Engr Salim explained that “apart from reviewing existing guidelines, new guidelines will be produced to meet emerging regulatory needs of the sector”.
Mr Rainer Hengstmann of Projekt Consult, Consultants to MinDiver, who presented the project’s “Scope of Work,” encouraged stakeholders in both public and private sector to generously share their ideas and experiences, stating that Projekt Consult has executed tasks in over one hundred countries.
President of the umbrella association of miners in Nigeria, an over ten million member association – Miners Association of Nigeria, Alh Mohammed Kankara commended the Federal government for the determination to work with operators.
While he assured that the miners will share their challenges and experiences, he emphasized the need to put in place strategies for effective implementation of guidelines when reviewed, stating that “in Nigeria, implementation of policy is more often the problem, not policy formulation.”