The federal government, in a bid to strengthening and advance the relationship between host communities and mining companies, as well as promote the welfare of the host communities has launched the revised ‘Community Development Agreements’ (CDA).
Speaking during the launch in Abuja on Thursday, Dele Alake, the minister of Solid Minerals Development noted that some mining companies, take undue advantage of some communities by providing little support that are normally not commiserate to what the Company is getting from their mining operations.
“The whole idea is that, if the mining companies or operators would extract minerals of economic values from the Community, then they have some obligations to protect and improve the welfare of the Community.
“The net effect is to enhance quality of life in the broadest possible way, through corporate support of educational institutions, community relation programmes and infrastructural developments, such as construction of roads, markets, hospitals, schools, provision of pipe-borne water, electricity, and other activities that are considered to safeguard the position of the organization,” he said.
The CDA states that the holder of a mining lease, small scale mining lease or quarry lease shall prior to the commencement of any development activity within the lease area, engage and conclude with the host community.
For Alake, the essence of CDA is a requirement of the Law in accordance with Section 116 of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007 and Section 193 of the Regulations, 2011.
“It is to promote healthy and mutual beneficial relationships between mining companies and their host communities. It is a mechanisms for promoting social licence to mine, prevent and manage conflict.
“It is to ensure that social and economic benefits of a mining project are transferred to the host community; increased community participation throughout the life of a development project,” he said.
He further disclosed that presently, about 252 Companies have signed CDAs with their host communities with provision of projects according to the identified need of the hos communities.
“As we count our successes as a Ministry, there are also some challenges hindering the CDA processes in some communities, these are; over bearing influence of the traditional rulers and chiefs to corner what is meant for the Community at large to a few individuals; ome communities make heavy demands that are impossible for the companies to achieve.”
In her remarks, Okono Vivian, the director of Mines environmental compliance department of the Ministry said that the CDA concept has been introduced in the solid minerals sector to promote harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between the mining companies and their host communities.
“It has been included in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (NMMA), 2007 to forestall, in the solid mineral sector, the repeat of social crises experienced in the Niger Delta by the oil sector, which may undermine the present efforts of the Federal Government aimed at diversifying our monolithic national economy with renewed efforts on the development of the solid minerals sector,” she said.