The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi has said that activities of artisanal and small scale miners in the country would be formalized to ensure sustainable development of the mineral resources and enhance the sector’s contribution to national economic growth.
Fayemi said this in Ilorin at the Opening Ceremony of the 52nd Conference of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, NMGS, stressing that at the moment 80 percent of mining activities in some parts of the country is done by illegal artisanal miners.
He said his ministry will explore the possibilities of using information technology solutions to empower this group of miners through the establishment of ICT Tele Centres, as “it is important that miners have access to the most efficient supporting knowledge and technology”.
The Minister disclosed that 300 men of the National Civil Defence Corps have been deplored as mines police to check the activities of illegal miners whom he described as menace to the growth of the mining sector, especially with respect to revenue generation and smuggling of mineral commodities”.
Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed in his speech said the mining sector can serve as a key driver in the quest for sustained economic growth and the development of the country.
Gov. Ahmed noted that it was unfortunate that with more than 40 different solid minerals spread across the country, that sector contributed only 0.34 percent to the country’s GDP.
According to the Governor, with about five mining licenses in the state, his administration has established a special purpose vehicle to drive the exploitation and exploration of mineral resources for more earnings from the non-oil sector.
The governor identified mineral resources abundant in the state as including Gold, Kaolin, Marble, Dolomite, Tourmalines and Limestone that could be exploited for the industrial development of the State.
Dr Ahmed said the state government has set up the Midway Minerals Development Company Limited as a Special Purpose Vehicle to acquire mining licenses and promote investment in the sector.