• Saturday, June 15, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Mining Cadastre partners Nasarawa to regulate mining activities

The Federal Government agency responsible for regulating mining activities in Nigeria, the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (NMCO), has assured Nasarawa State Government of its readiness to tackle moves of illegal miners, threatening the peace and development of the state.

The Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office also pledged to partner with the state government on the concerns raised about emerging threats to security around mining sites in parts of the state to regulate mining activities in the state.

The Director General, NMCO, Obadiah Simon Nkom, assured Governor Abdullahi Sule of partnership with the state government while on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Lafia.

Nasarawa State Government recently raised the concern of the alarming havoc on the environment and emerging threats to security around mining sites as a result of the activities of illegal miners, which had become a significant problem to the state and investors.

The NMCO was created in 2007 to administer and manage mineral titles in Nigeria under Section 5 (1) of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.

The agency is mandated to provide an independent, efficient and transparent Mining Cadastre system which grants and administers mining licences and permits by best international practices.

Following the provisions of the enabling law, the agency delivers reliably, effectively and professional services, using objective standards and procedures.

Nkom remarked that he was in Lafia to declare unalloyed support, partner with the Nasarawa State Government, and regulate mining activities in the state.

The director general said his agency is aware of the challenges in the mining sector, particularly regarding communities, land owners, security and operators who come in diverse ways with different perspectives. Still, the target is the abundant wealth available in Nasarawa State.

“This is our wealth, and we want to take advantage of it to be a blessing to our people. But at the same time, mining must be done in a regulated manner. At the end of the day, it must be done to bring benefits not just to the communities but to the entire state and country at large.

“I came here to give you my unalloyed support. I am ready as much as possible to partner with you so that we can now regulate the industry properly.

“At the end of the day, the benefits of the minerals’ wealth of Nasarawa State will trickle down to all levels of government. The Home of Solid Minerals will be justified, not just a name,” Nkom said.

In his response, Governor Abdullahi Sule decried the spat of unrest around mining sites primarily due to the activities of illegal miners.

The Governor expressed appreciation for the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office to partner with his administration towards sanitizing mining activities in the state.

According to Governor Sule, the opportunities in the mining sector are enormous, but such opportunities are wasted, encouraging illegal mining.

“A single community has accepted 700m from a company investing to do mining. These are the kinds of problems that we are having.

“I’m happy you are here to make sure we work together. We are here to look at all these indices for the betterment of your organization, the ministry, Nigeria, Nasarawa State, and the communities. That is just my dream. I am happy to see you with this enthusiasm and commitment to work together,” he stated.

The Governor, however, requested the NMCO to ensure prospective mining companies seeking licenses to operate in Nasarawa State always present their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to safeguard the environment.

“As far as we are concerned, any company coming to make this huge investment, at least, should have their EIA report. I don’t know your requirements or guidelines for license issuance, but for a company to have a prospecting and even mining license and then come back later without the EIA is wrong.

“In ten years, such a company can cause huge damage to the community, then they will go away to China, and we will be looking at how to protect that community. The devastation will not come until the end of the exercise,” he added.

Governor Sule expressed optimism that the state, known as the Home of Solid Minerals, is beginning to witness the discovery of the most sought-after, most attractive minerals, especially lithium.

He used the opportunity of the visit to announce that yet another private firm has approached him with the idea of investing N250m USD towards building another lithium factory that can process 18 000 metric tons per day.

He added that the contract for the project has already been awarded to the company that built the Dangote Cement factories in Ogbajana, Ibese, and upgraded the Benue Cement Company.