Dele Alake, minister of solid minerals development, has condemned the move by some state governors to ban mining activities in states.
Alake, disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday during a press briefing ahead of the 2023 Nigeria mining week.
According to Alake, no state government has the authority to interfere with mining operations in the state. He noted that mining activities were a constitutional issue and an item in the exclusive list of the federal government.
He said, “only the federal government has the authority to make laws and regulations for operationalising solid mineral activities. We are not against any state that wants to engage in mining activities, provided they follow due processes and get licensed.
“I have engaged quite several state governors and discovered that some are not very vast with the constitution or the imperatives and dynamics of this sector. And so there’s the need for adequate education and enlightenment.
“However, there is no amount of education and enlightenment engagement that will be outside the purview of the law of the Constitution. And the Constitution is very clear; mining activities, solid minerals, and liquid minerals are all under the federal government’s purview.”
This follows the recent allegations by the Miners Association of Nigeria that after the inauguration of the new governors, the mining industry started witnessing an avalanche of Executive Orders banning mining activities in some states like Ebonyi, Osun, Enugu, Cross River, Taraba, among others.
Alake further stated that Mining Week 2023, scheduled from 16th to 18th October, is poised to be a significant milestone in the nation’s efforts to showcase its potential in the mining sector. “The theme for this year, ‘Unlocking Nigeria’s Mining Potential’, encapsulates our unwavering commitment to harness the abundant mineral resources that are spread across our land.”
He said the conference aims to drive knowledge sharing, investment promotion, infrastructure development, skill development, and sustainable development in the sector.
“We aim to foster an environment where Industry experts, stakeholders, and government officials can exchange ideas and strengthen the concepts of industry best practices. This will foster innovation and enhance the overall competitiveness of our mining sector as we endeavour to ‘unlock Nigeria’s mining potential’, upholding the tenets of environmental, social and governance standards.
“This Event heralds the overarching policy consistency of government and provision of requisite infrastructure to significantly grow the mining sector to contribute to the nation’s GDP. This Event avails an ample opportunity for collective action and collaboration between the public and private sectors, civil society, and international partners,” he said.
In his remarks, Dele Ayanleke, the national president of the Miners Association of Nigeria noted that the nation has begun to witness an era of increasing interest in the development of solid minerals.
“Among many other compelling factors is also the fact that Nigeria has suddenly become a beautiful bride of the world with the discovery, in abundance and fine grades, the critical minerals needed for the global energy transition in addition to the global dwindling fortunes of oil as a source of energy and revenue earner.
“Therefore, juxtaposing these and many other hidden factors together, this coming event offers an array of opportunities to every stakeholders’ group in the Nigeria project. Prior among these is an opportunity for our regulatory agencies to generate ideas to formulate policies and programs for the sustainable management of our resources in a way that will restore the hope of Nigerians,” he said.
For Mary Ogbe, permanent secretary of the ministry, the conference will create a platform for harnessing Nigeria’s mineral resources, as well as provide an opportunity to foster sustainable growth and development in the sector.