Apart from establishing the first fully operational chemical-free, large-scale mechanised gold processing facility in Nigeria, NASAMAN Gold Mining Company has taken the lead in provision of world class CSR activities for communities which host its business, an area where several mining companies have not been able to meet the expectation.
The Chairman of Nasaman Limited, Prince Maman Nasir Ali has disclosed that his organization has designed a unique private sector led business-model for the development of the Nigerian solid minerals sector, adding that “the project was not about ideas that might happen, but about realities that are already happening.”
Ali who is steering the third largest mining company in Nigeria also disclosed that NASAMAN aims at a tripartite development of the sector, noting that the mining sector has the potential of rivaling oil and gas as the country’s revenue earner.
Discussing key components of the model, Prince Ali said: “The first of the three targets is commercial assets development and revenue generation,” adding that it aims at formalising the Artisanal Mining Community while strengthening development and education of indigenous people on acquisition of safe mining skills.
It is important to note that the quest for formalization of artisanal miners has been described as one of the most rewarding decisions of government, as the measure will do much to stem the rising tide of illegal mining in Nigeria.
While he assured that the organisation will effectively contribute to the economic diversification of Nigeria, he assured that the mining sector can be made to be the new revenue earner stating that it is expected that foreign investors will be attracted to the sector.
While noting that Nasaman currently “employs approximately five hundred thousand people directly, and two million people indirectly,” he pledged the readiness of the group to commit its human and material resources to the continuous development of the sector adding that it has the potential to create jobs in excess of ten million when fully resuscitated.
While he explained that NASAMAN has embraced world class edge cutting technologies in its operations, he stressed the importance of adapting the Nigerian solid mineral sector to world class industrial methods of production and manufacturing, saying that the strategy cannot be underscored especially in the quest to play big in the committee of nations.
According to the multi sector entrepreneur, “no country can get the best from mining unless it industrialises.”
It could be recalled that in the recent past, the federal government singled out NASAMAN as the indigenous company which reflect development policies, noting that the company’s growth reflects the lucrativeness of the sector.
Mining sector industry experts agree that the development of the solid mineral sector will inspire the transformation of small businesses into wholly owned indigenous conglomerates one of which is NASAMAN Gold Mining Company. The transformation of companies to great conglomerates has enormous economic advantages to the country. Conglomerates will comfortable pay greater taxes and royalties and will offer enviable Corporate Social Responsibilities and a host of other activities that will be beneficial to the host country.
Henry Mitchell who was Executive Director of Operations at Nasaman Limited noted that the solid minerals sector received considerable attention at the World Economic Forum, adding that gold processing has been identified as a priority area for industrial investment in Nigeria.
He said majority of gold mining is performed on an informal basis by a marginalised workforce who endure appalling conditions and have access only to dangerous, rudimentary and inefficient processing methods. NASAMAN is however changing the face of ASM operations in Nigeria as the company has trained artisanal mining workforce in use of world class safety methods of mining operation.
Commenting on the focus of Nasaman, Mitchel said the company is leading the development of Nigeria’s Solid Mineral Extractives Industry with a new vision of how sustainable progress will be achieved, adding that “Nasaman is unrivalled in this regard.”
According to him, “Nasaman conducted extensive geological studies over a period of eighteen months using its pre-eminent team of geologists from South Africa and Tanzania,” and that the studies focused on Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger and Kogi states where artisanal mining activities are concentrated.
“Their findings were very encouraging. A dramatic ancient fault line stretches north-south in the western third of the country. This is a highly prospective structure for the mining of organic gold. The Niger basin also includes extensive coal deposits. Nasaman is currently focused on gold although an abundance of alluvial tantalite is already being recovered during Nasaman’s processing activities,” he said.
According to him, Nasaman’s geologists lead the field in their understanding of Nigerian geology and have completed detailed surveys of prospective land to advise exploration and mine development activities.
Discussing the initiative of the company to establish a full-fledged organization that will solely dedicated to the promotion and execution of Corporate Social Responsibilities, the chairman, Prince Maman Nasir Ali said: “We are working to establish the NASAMAN Organisation, which will still be one of the largest arms of the NASAMAN Group.”
According to him, the organization when established will operate as a charity that aims to promote safer mining activities, adding that it the formation of the organization is inspired by the need to give funding support to artisanal miners. “As a charity organisation, it will give funds to artisanal miners across the federation aimed at enabling them get all that they need for safety while mining.”
The NASAMAN Organisation will attract collaboration with other well-meaning industrial organisations who are committed to the safety of mines labourers and artisanal miners in the country, he said.
“It will be a charity house for miners in Nigeria.”
While saying that the organisation will periodically organise safety workshops for miners to teach them safe mining practices and actions such as what they should do when they see vapour, chemical wastes, he said the organisation will also provide safety wears like raincoats, shovels, daggers and boots for endangered mining workforce.
“One of the reasons that spurred us into the establishment of the Nasaman Charity Organisation is to keep faith with the principles we advocated at the inception of our company.”
While saying that NASAMAN also decided to also give our motorcycles in order to enable site men move around mining sites as a security measure, he recalled that NASAMAN had already given out fifty motorcycles for use in this regard, adding that NASAMAN Organisation is now being established to fully take charge of this aspect of safety needs.
Discussing the commitment of NASAMAN to the wellbeing of Nigeria’s artisanal mining population, Prince Ali said a specialised hospital will also be built that will be specially dedicated to providing needed care for the artisanal miners in Nigeria.
“We will set the example, and when we do so, we expect that other key players in the industry will follow suit,” he said, adding that if they do, the mining sector will boom because artisanal miners will have confidence in those for who they mine.
“The large companies must not cheat the artisanal miners because the companies cannot deny the relevance of the small scale miners,’ the chairman said, adding that the large companies are backed up by the support from the artisanals.
“I expect that artisanal miners should be given the opportunity to grow. After faithfully serving the big companies, they should be given funding support that will enable them to start their own companies.” The chairman it is when this is done that Nigeria will begin to boast of indigenous mining sector conglomerates who will be able to comfortable pay huge royalties to government, thereby contributing to the ability of the sector to rival oil as a means of revenue generation.
According to him, “Nigeria needs to develop a framework that will lead to the existence and growth of indigenous mining companies,” stating that apart from NASAMAN and two others, the Nigerian mining sector is particularly dominated by foreign companies.
Our findings show that Julius Barger and CNC are among foreign mining companies in the country.
“NASAMAN embarks on periodic tours around the country to evaluate and make progressive comparison among companies, and I tell you not even the foreign ones could have rivalled us if we had some support from our home government.”
“I envisage that a time will come when the NASAMAN Organisation being established will comfortably dole out millions to artisanal miners in order to empower them to own their own mining businesses”, he said.
“Provided that we have thought them in safe mining practices, the next step is to empower them and by the grace of almighty God, the time will come,” he added.
According to him, “when such support is established, the sector will be correctly described as being on the path of sure progress, especially when such emerging companies will not need to depend on government for their existence.”
He further said that such is how nations develop the respective sectors of their economy.
The NASAMAN organisation will exist to ensure that a poor miner does not remain poor for life, he should be able to learn the skills of safe mining and he should gain empowerment to establish his own companies such that he will succeed and his economic status will change for better while he also becomes employer of labour.
Discussing the progress made to flag-off the Charity Organisation, Prince Ali said he is already getting the nod of some embassies and high commissions in the country. “We have partners in the United Kingdom and I have spoken to them about it, I have also spoken to the Bank of America and a couple of friends who understand how economies genuinely develop,” he said.
“I am also approaching the United Nations and I am ready to go as far as possible to actuate the objective,” he added.