By Gabriel Ewepu

THE Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, have decried the importation of 5 million metric tonnes of bitumen into the country.

In an interview with Vanguard, National President, MAN, Kabir Kankara, said the latest importation was the highest on the importation chart as at April 2019.

Kankara, who lamented the huge loss of foreign exchange by the country, said: “If over 5 million metric tonnes of bitumen has been imported into the country as at April this year, that means so much revenue has been lost, huge foreign exchange lost when we have large deposits of the commodity.

“Due to lack of technology, adequate funding and other interventions, the country is losing billions of dollars through importation of bitumen. In fact, it is not encouraging, but it is sad news to us. What we expect is enough production for local use and for export as well, instead of importing bitumen.

“We, therefore, charge the government to move fast and stop this importation by encouraging miners in the country to do what is expected in the bitumen industry in order to curb importation and boost the economy.

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“That is why we have to go back to the realities of issues affecting the solid minerals sector. Let us have access to modern equipment and government intervention, and that would enable us partner with the government to exploit the minerals we have in this country.”

In a related development, the Small Scale, Artisanal Miners Association of Nigeria, SAMAN, has vowed to fight and stop illegal flight of solid minerals from the country.

The National Chairman of SAMAN, Nasiru Wada, said: “There have been issues in the sector dating back to decades that have not been addressed; those are the things we set out to address by engaging government and all other stakeholders nationally and internationally to move the sector forward.

“Small Scale, Artisanal Miners Association of Nigeria, SAMAN, is primarily concerned with the socio-economic development of the small scale mining subsector and the entire mining industry. We will collaborate with government and development partners to add value to minerals produced and address the issue of mineral flight.

“The artisanal and small scale mining sub sector, though has been the largest employers of those people call peasants with boundless economic potentials and opportunities, has suffered gross neglect by successive governments over the years, a situation that has been taking its toll on the economy in general.”

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