By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Sada, has reassured that explosives used by operators in the mining sector are under control and close watch.
Sada reiterated this while reacting to the communiqué read by the Mines Officer, South-East, Mr. Ebong Bassey, after the end of the maiden stakeholders’ interactive meeting for Zonal Mine Officers, ZMOs, and Federal Mines Officers, FMOs.
The meeting was organised by the Mining Cadastral Office in conjunction with Mines Inspectorate Department of the Ministry.
The theme of the meeting was, “Strengthening the Existing and Synergy between Mining Cadastral Office and the Technical Department for enhanced Mineral Title Administration and Effective regulation of the Mining Industry Operations.”
Sada said the ministry is very strict on the approval for the use of explosives, and has mandated the ZMOs and FMOs to ensure that persons and companies applying for the use of explosives in their activities were closely monitored.
Their storage facilities are also to be properly inspected with physical pictures and addresses.
Sada said: “The stakeholders’ interactive meeting today is a beginning of positive things to come. We will make it an annual event. Let the Zonal Mines Officers organise such interactive meetings at the state level, where states are made to present what is going there.
“The interactive meetings should also include discussions on developments in the mining sector of other countries we can learn from, even states in Nigeria that are doing well, so we can have a body of knowledge.
“What we expect from the ZMOs and FMOs is a progressive report in their states, and it will assist us to present the real picture of what is happening in the sector, and that will portray positive activities that are not known about the sector.
“For the use of explosives, we are dealing with it. Anybody who is interested working with explosives should apply early enough. The ZMOs and FMOs are expected to be observant about the use of the explosives in their states.
“Inspect their storage facilities, whether it breaches the security of the people, have the picture of the person. If the use of the explosive will threaten the security of the people we will know how to deal with it.
“We want to also receive recommendations from the ZMOs and FMOs on whether to renew the licence of an operator because in this sector, you are the most important people as you are on the field and are the eyes and hands of the sector.”
The Minister also charged the officers to ensure that operators who violate Mining Laws were arrested and prosecuted through the police, as their operations were illegal and criminal, and they should not allow them to intimidate them.
Earlier in his remark, the Director-General, Mining Cadastral Office, Mr. Mohammed Amate, urged participants to express themselves freely as they contribute, observe and criticise positively on issues that will help the sector.
However, some of the demands contained in the communiqué include creation of data base for registration of mineral titles in the state offices, provision of computers and laptops with internet facilities for ZMOs and FMOs for the effective discharge of their duties.