Lafia – The Federal Government says it has taken measures to end the exportation of raw solid mineral by miners.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Mineral Development, who disclosed this on Tuesday in Lafia, during a courtesy visit to Gov. Tanko Al-Makura, declared that the era of mining and exporting unprocessed solid minerals “will soon be over”.
Fayemi, who began a two- day assessment tour of mining sites and mining activities in the state, said that miners ready to invest in the sector must be willing to set up processing plants in host communities, so as to create jobs for people.
He explained that the enforcement of the ban would not be done arbitrarily as investors would be given time to establish their processing plants.
The minister expressed readiness to partner with the state government towards developing the mining sector in the country.
“Although mining is in the exclusive legislative list of the country’s constitution, there is no law precluding states with enormous resources from setting up mining companies,” he said.
Fayemi said that such states could approach the ministry for licenses to explore and exploit the resources.
According to him, states can do it solely or in partnership with private investors, depending on the technical capacity.
The minister said that state governments would play key roles in the issuance of mining license to minimise the frictions usually common between investors and the host communities.
Fayemi assured the governor that the ministry would enforce the provisions of the mining and mineral act in favour of the host communities.
“This is because they (host communities) have been at the receiving end; they hardly reap the necessary benefits from their natural endowment,” he said.
Responding, Gov. Umaru Al-Makura thanked the minister for the visit, saying that it had given the state the impetus to contribute more to the current economic diversification drive.
Al-Makura appealed to the federal government to pay special attention to the protection of major mining companies in view of incessant attacks.
He also stressed the need for the federal government to pursue joint ventures with multinational mining companies similar to what was done in the oil sector, in order to bring sophistication into the industry and boost revenue.
Al-Makura suggested the need to showcase Nigeria’s mineral resources at the country’s foreign missions with a view to linking investors directly to states where each item was found.