Dele Alake, minister of Solid Minerals Development has urged mining companies to ensure strict compliance with community development agreements as contained in the Nigerian Mining Act.
The minister, speaking at the 2023 West African mining host communities Indaba (conference), in Abuja on Wednesday said that the government is committed to improving the security of the mining environment through a new security architecture already in the works.
He said, “Everyone of us in this hall comes from one host community or the other. We come from somewhere, and that’s a host community.
“So when we talk about energising, enhancing the situation of host communities, we are talking about ourselves. If we are doing it for ourselves, it means we must give the best to the host communities. So, we must ensure that host communities receive and derive maximum benefits from mining operations in their areas.”
According to the minister, there is a need to ensure material benefits for the host communities stating that recent observations have shown that mining companies deviate from the community development agreements.
“There is a clause in the Nigerian Mining Act that affects host communities. It mandates host communities and operating companies to sign community development agreements (CDAs).
“However, given our brief experience in this sector, we’ve noticed that there are altercations in the implementation of these CDAs. There are some communities that are at loggerheads with operators, or disagreements on some clauses in the CDAs, or most importantly, the difficulty in determining who are the genuine leaders of the communities. This has led to disputes, halting development, and economic activities.
“At the ministry, we are conceptualising policies, creating mechanisms to reduce such disputes to the barest minimum to ensure maximum beneficiation for everyone concerned.
“The governance structure is particularly very significant to move the solid minerals sector forward, not only to achieve the objectives of development but also to translate all policies into reality and achievements,” he said.