By Gabriel Ewepu
THE Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, has disclosed that the Federal Government has reviewed the Explosives Act in order to enhance mining operations in Nigeria.
In his keynote address at the 2nd National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development, held in Kaduna State, Bwari said the government was concerned about the security situation in the country.
He also hinted that the government was committed towards achieving increased transparency in mineral titles administration, adding that the Ministry recently approved the automation and upgrade of the Mining Cadastre System project at Mining Cadastral Office, MCO.
Bwari said: “Our gathering today therefore signals another milestone in our efforts to re-position the Nigerian Mining Sector. This Council provides an excellent forum where stakeholders converge for policy formulation and validation while also acting as professional guide for Government in pursuing its broad mandate of economic diversification, job creation and increasing its revenue base.
“We have also reviewed the Explosives Act and checked cases of explosives’ proliferation, pilfering and diversion, in partnership with the NSA’s office. We have improved collaboration between the ministry and our security agencies, especially the Nigeria Customs Service, in addressing illegal exportation and smuggling of minerals; and the NSCDC in checkmating cases of illegal mining activities.”
He said: “We are also working extensively with state governments and relevant ministries to formalise and manage our artisanal miners into cooperatives, while also working with defence and security agencies to curb the actions of illegal mining in the country.”
On Ajaokuta Steel Complex and strategies to reduce smuggling of solid minerals out of the country, he stated: “We are finally on the verge of resolving the thorny issues around this legacy project and I believe that the place will become fully operational soon. Concerning ALSCON, we have held meetings with necessary stakeholders to ensure adequate supply of gas to the company, UC Rusal, to ensure maximum efficiency.
“In the effort to end the smuggling of our minerals, we have worked in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance to streamline monitoring of mineral exports at all points of entry in the country, and a proposed new export guidelines for Solid Minerals is at the final stage of approval.”