By Agatha Chitumu, Abuja
The Honourable Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite has disclosed that the Federal Government is formalizing the artisanal miners to make their operations more beneficial to the economy in line with global best practises, which according to him has remained a major source of livelihood to many Nigerians.
In a statement signed by the Director press and public relations,Theodore Agbagwa, stated that the meeting which held in Abuja on the formalization of Artisanal Miners into Cooperatives and Small Miners into Large Mineral and Financial Enterprises together with the Design and Implementation of an ASM Remote Sensing Monitoring System in the Mining and Steel Sector, had the theme “Developing the Artisanal and Small- Scale Mining Economy ‘’.
According to Adegbite, “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 noted that the Artisanal Miners are not only untrained but also ill equipped and as such operate with crude implements which has dare consequences both on the environment and human safety.
He maintained that the Ministry is assiduously working on processes to improve and support the progressive growth of Artisanal Miners and Small-Scale Miners, stressing that formalization is not a one – off process.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals and immediate past Governor of Nassarawa State, Distinguished Senator Tanko Almakura, in his goodwill message, described the Mining Industry as a revenue earner and the hope of Nigeria’s future.
He assured Stakeholders in the Mines and Steel Sector that the Senate is willing to make laws that will create legal frame work that will make the Mining Sector more vibrant and by so doing create employment for Nigerians.
Almakura added that when enabling environment is provided for Artisanal Miners in terms of finance and security, the Sector is bound to record a tremendous success.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr Edet Sunday Akpan, in his welcome note, revealed that 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 further stated 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 Mining Sector.