High demand for mining marshal shows sector support for policy – Alake

Friday Ajagunna
Friday Ajagunna
L-R: Alake Gov. Sule and Shuaibu Abubakar Audu during a roundtable
Increasing demand for the services of newly established, 2,220-man Mining Marshals by mining firms confirm support of the industry for the policy.
Minister of Solid Minerals Development , Dr. Oladele Alake, delivering his key note address at the mining  conference organised by the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) said not less than three firms requested the services of the rapid response corps between 8am and 10 a.m. on Monday.
He said that in response to the demands, the Mining Marshals are currently in Osun, Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa, resulting in the arrest of some culprits.
Emphasising that the Mining Marshals are the coercive component of the administration’s carrot-and-stick approach to combating illegal mining undermining security in the sector, it was announced that the persuasive component, which entails artisanal miners forming co-operatives to legalise their operations, has yielded fruits as 152 new co-operatives came on board between September last year and last month.
Giving a progress report on the implementation of the Seven-Point Agenda he unveiled on assumption of office to a select audience of stakeholders, Alake  declared that with the ongoing efforts to sanitise and reposition the mining sector, Nigeria is poised to become a top global mining destination.
Alake commended the NIPSS for prioritising the mining sector and appreciating its strategic value in President Bola Tinubu’s plans to diversify the economy.
” As the foremost government think-tank, this stakeholders’ roundtable will enrich NIPSS analysis of the sector and recommendations on the steps to be taken to enable the sector deliver on its mandate,” he said.
Highlighting other achievements of the  agenda, the Minister revealed that processes for enacting legislations for the establishment of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation are already underway in the National Assembly, through the House Committee on Solid Minerals Development.
” We are working with consultants to ensure the smooth emergence of a corporation which will be private sector driven. We are looking at a corporation with a structure that has 50% equity for the private sector; 25% for members of the public; 25% for the federal government. Our vision is to erect private-sector led enduring structures for the corporation that will foster efficiency, outlive the present administration, and consequently wean it from future government interference, “the Minister added.
Emphasising the imperative of generating comprehensive data of mineral deposits to derisk the sector, Alake stated that, in collaboration with the World Bank, an aeromagnetic survey has been conducted across the country, which has given a superficial analysis of mineral spread and deposits, stressing that a more detailed exploration is being pursued to enable investors make informed investment decisions.
” The importance of data for investors can not be overemphasised. With accurate data, investors will be able to project the commercial value of mineral deposits and make informed investment decisions. We have signed an MOU with German firm, GeoScan GmBN, and we are making strenuous efforts to partner with scientific and data-driven agencies, renowned globally, to be able to generate the requisite big geo-data that will attract international big players”, the Minister asserted.
Speaking further, Dr. Alake noted that other aspects of the roadmap, including the revised guidelines for the Community Development Agreement (CDA) which make it mandatory to get the consent of host communities before applying for mining licences, are already operational, while the revocation of dormant licenses and the inclusion of plans for value addition alongside the application for licenses are now federal government policy.
According to the Minister, efforts to market the mining sector are yielding results as a global mining company, Glencore recently expressed interest in Nigeria’s mining sector, while advocacy for value addition led to his election as chairman of the African Minerals Strategy Group (AMSG) – a forum of African Ministers of Solid Minerals/Mineral Resources.
” My objective as the Minister is to work to ensure that Nigeria becomes a global mining destination for the first time in history, and we are working to make this happen by alleviating bottlenecks and addressing salient challenges that have plagued the sector for decades,” Alake asserted.
The Minister charged NIPSS to utilise the summit to synthesise suggestions and advance recommendations that will assist the federal government in sustaining the development of the mining sector.
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