The Nigerian government is set to partner state governments to identify and licence illegal miners in order to scale up productivity in the mining sector.
The Minister of Mines and steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this at the Government House, Kaduna, during a courtesy visit to the Acting Governor, Arc Barnabas Bala-Bantex ahead of his tour of mining sites and mineral bearing communities in the state.
The minister, while commenting on illegal mining, said it was a source of concern for the government, adding that steps were being taken to address the challenges.
He said the government had been active in pulling together the artisanal and informal miners to reduce illegal mining.
“We are also working with states in providing the technical and financial support so that they can enter the mainstream of mining rather than operating illegally.
“But the duty we owe to our people is to also enlighten them on the need to engage in formal and organised mining practice.
“If you do this in a formal and organised manner, you will make more money; you will not be cheated by middlemen who took advantage of the unorganized system.
“These middlemen have often encouraged these illegal miners to excavate dangerous minerals that could be injurious to their health,’’ he said.
The minister said: “We have a duty to teach them safer mining process and to ensure that they have the tools to be able to conduct legitimate trade.’’
“The ministry is prepared to partner with states to include these miners in the scheme of things by formally issuing them small scale licence for such operations.
“It is not everybody that can be a major or mega miner, but for those who are small artisanal miners, they can pull their resources together to achieve the economics of scale in this regard, ” he said
The Acting Governor said they were glad that the Minister chose Kaduna State to begin the interaction tour and remarked that Kaduna was the first State to key into the roadmap adding that the State had commenced the process of formalizing the activities of illegal miners in a manner that would bring benefits to all parties. He assured the Minister and his team of adequate security during the duty tour of the State.