of Mines
and Steel Development,
Dr. Kayode Fayemi
has restated the urgent
need for states and
local governments to
commence registration
of artisanal miners
operating in their domain
in the bid to ensure safer
mining environment
and improve revenue.
He also urged states
to domesticate the
Child Right Act, so as
to discourage the use
of children for illegal
mining activities.
Dr Kayode Fayemi,
made the call on Tuesday
at Muye Kafinkoro
Village, Paikoro Local
Government Area, Niger
State, where he had gone
to visit a mining site,
where illegal mining
activities recently
claimed four lives.
Fayemi, who was
accompanied by the
Minister of State
for Mines and Steel
Development, Hon
Abubakar Bawa Bwari,
lamented the unfortunate
incident, where a mango
tree fell and killed four
out of about a hundred
local miners looking
for gold dust in an
illegal site, located in
the earth of the village.
He noted that
degradation and
unhealthy practices that
characterised illegal
mining activities would
be curtailed if artisanal
miners are properly
registered into groups
within their localities.
He urged states and
local government
authorities to champion
the registration process
for local miners, adding
that it is only through
this approach that their
operations could be
monitored, guided and
supported for optimal
contribution to the
economy and for a safer
mining environment. “It
will also help them to
work and earn money
legitimately so that
mining can become job
creating and revenue
earning work.”, he added.
The Minister explained
that many of the artisanal
miners were ignorant
people, who were out to
eke a living, and in the
process got involved,
unconsciously, in some
other nefarious activities.
The Minister noted that
illegal mining activities
remained a major
threat to big miners. He
said in organising and
formalising activities
Natural Resources
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi inspecting minning site
of artisanal miners,
the country would also
be protecting the big
miners and assuring
them that Nigeria is a
safe mining destination.
Fayemi said: “If the states
and local government
authorities can assist in
registering them into
groups, it will be easy for
the federal mining offices
in the states to relate with
them, provide them with
logistics and professional
supports and give them
licenses that will enable
them operate legitimately.
“The Ministry officials
will organise them into
cooperatives, tutor
them on safer mining
processes, introduce them
to equipment leasing,
coordinate them to benefit
from our financial support
and then they can operate
in a more professional
manner, which will also
translate into better
sources of income for
them and increased
revenue for government.
“This is better than
a situation where they
continue to operate
illegally, without
any knowledge of
the industry and the
inherent health hazard
to themselves and the
immediate community”.
On the health challenges
to the miners and the
community, the Minister
said many of the local
miners, in their desperate
bid to separate the gold
(or other minerals) from
dust, apply some lethal
substances including
mercury and cyanide,
which are poisonous and
constitute health risk to the
immediate environment.
Addressing some local
miners in the village, the
Minister assured them of
the ministry’s cooperation
if they would abide by
laid down procedures.
Specifically, he said
governments plans to
encourage the setting up
of min
erals buying centres
across the country to
ensure that minerals are
properly priced and sold in
a structured market setting
as opposed to underground
sales that had robbed
both the local miners
and the country of the
expected financial gains.
“I will urge you to
cooperate with government.
Whenever the minerals
buying centres are set up
in your locality, patronise
it. It is not good for us to
take gold out of Nigeria
and get it registered as
gold from Niger, Togo or
Ghana. You will even get
a better patronage when
you take your minerals
to the buying centres.
He also urged them to be
prepared to take advantage
of the equipment leasing
scheme when it takes off.
This, he said would help
them make use of modern
equipment that will
improve their productivity
and profitability as
against crude implements
they currently use.
The Chairman of Paikoro
Local Government council,
Mr John Ibrahim, who
conducted the minister
round the site, said the
council will cooperate with
the Federal Mining office in
the state to ensure better and
safer mining environment.
Some of the artisanal
miners also said they were
prepared to organise into
groups and obtain mining
licences. They, however
want government to reduce
the licence fee as part
of incentives for them.
Meanwhile, the Minister
of State for Mines and
Steel Development,
Abubakar Bawa Bwari has
expressed Nigeria’s interest
in strengthening trade
relations with Iran especially
in the mining sector.
The Minister said this
when he received in
audience the Iranian
Ambassador, His
Excellency Morteza Rahimi
Zarchi who paid a courtesy
visit to the Ministry.
While expressing
appreciation for the visit,
the Minister recalled that
President Buhari was in
Iran recently to reinforce
the trade relations between
the two countries. He said
that the two countries
share a lot in common
as members of the
Oganisation of Petroleum
Exporting Countries,
OPEC, in diversification
f their economies due to
the global fall in oil prices
as well as in mining.
He added that Iran,
in terms of mining
technology can impart
Nigeria positively,
while noting that Iran
is advanced in coal
to power and mining
exploration which
Nigeria can benefit from.
Ambassador Zarchi
stressed that Nigeria and
Iran are both exploring
other sources of revenue
by diversifying the
economy in mining and
agriculture and the Iranian
investors are interested in
partnering with Nigeria
in the mining sector.
He however revealed
that in furtherance to the
trade cooperation, he had
visited Niger State which
he confessed is blessed
with mineral resources,
saying that there is need
to involve the private
sector in the expansion of
the economic cooperation
of the two countries