The Director Planning Research and Statistics, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olapade Davies on Tuesday said the Nigerian mining sector is able to achieve the targeted rise in GDP from the 0.33% to 3%, adding that the country’s enormous solid minerals resources are being harnessed to achieve the goal.
The Federal Director who gave the assurance while giving an overview of the Ministry at the opening session of the second phase training of members of the Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce (SMSTF) on illegal mining organised by the Ministry in Jos, Pleateau State, said Nigeria is blessed with over 44 types of minerals and 500 mineral locations across the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. AbdulkadirMu’azu appealed to the members of the Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce (SMSTF) on illegal mining drawn from the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Customs, DSS, EFCC, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp and the Zonal Mines Offers in the States to avoid the temptation of compromising the objectives of the assignment given to them by conniving with illegal miners or cover up.
Dr. Mu’azu in his address at the ceremony said the training aims to enlighten the Taskforce on what constitutes illegal mining as contained in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007, its ancillary Regulations 2011, Explosives of 1964 and Regulations of 1967 respectively.
Speaking through his representative, the Director of Mines Inspectorate, Engineer Karnap Wuyep, the Permanent Secretary stated that the Taskforce was established in 2012 with membership drawn from relevant Ministries and Security Agencies.
The Taskforce is charged with the responsibility of curbing illegal mining, reducing environmental degradation and plugging of revenue leakages amongst others. It is structured into short, medium and long term targets to achieve its mandate and one of the medium term targets is the training of the Taskforce on relevant aspects of mining particularly mining legislations, mineral identification, etc.
He assured the participants that the Ministry based on the available budgetary allocation and other intervention funds would provide relevant logistics and funds needed to accomplish their assignment.
He also enjoined them to use the knowledge and skills acquired for proper minefield monitoring and surveillance to curb illegal mining across the Federation.
Engineer David Awojobi in his paper “Special Mines Surveillance Taskforce, Functions of the SMSTF, Illegal Mining and its Menace and SMSTF Terms of Reference” stated the history of the establishment of the Taskforce and its functions as well as the characteristics of illegal miners.
He enjoined participants to develop proactive rather than reactive strategies in curb illegal mining because prevention is better than cure. He added that the present government has demonstrated political will towards the revamping of the mining sector.
Another resource person Professor S.J. Mallo in his paper enumerated the various classifications of minerals and their uses. He spoke on tracking system of minerals and proposed a tracking model for minerals based on the use of human beings to track minerals and transmit information in hard and soft copies.
Engineer S.O. Oladipo spoke on what constitute lawful and unlawful Acts in Mining, available mining regulations, provisions of the 2007 Mining Act and enumerated the benefits and sanctions in mining operations.