The Ministry of Mines and Steel is clamping down on illegal mining activities, the minister said.
The Minister of Mines and Steel, Musa Sada, on Tuesday in Abuja said his ministry has created over 1.2 million jobs in rural areas.
Speaking at the ongoing ministerial platform, Mr. Sada said 1,254 million jobs were created from operations in 1710 quarries, 223 small scale mining operations, 195 mining leases and 2048 exploration licenses.
He stressed the need for professionalism in the industry and listed Ajaokuta Steel Company as one of the companies suffering effects of unprofessionalism in the country.
Mr. Sada said issues in the company range from infrastructures to privatization, legal issues to change of management and even technical competency.
The minister encouraged group mining activities which he said will help curb illegal mining in rural. He said the Mines and Steel ministry has commenced the education of people living in communities where illegal mining thrives so as to check the menace of illegal mining.
He said the education involves informing them to come together to do things in a better way rather than going solo. Mr. Sada said that communities must get legal advice before indulging into community development that involves exploration or mining activities.
Discovery of minerals
The minister stated that 11 additional mineral have been discovered in the country in the last one year bringing the number of minerals in the county to a total of 44.
He expressed the need for dissemination of information through the right sources to the right people that will get involved in wealth creation mostly from industrial mineral.
On the ministry’s initiative to clean up dormant mining titles in a “Use it or Lose it” exercise, Mr. Sada said over 10,000 dormant and inactive titles were mopped up into active and productive mineral rights while all non-performing titles were revoked; thus increasing revenue generation and activities by mineral titles owners.
“80 per cent of over 10,000 mineral licenses are held in drawers by people who don’t need it and are not using it; people who have the rights are really not interested in developing mineral while people who are interested are out there looking for these rights.” Mr. Sada said
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, who gave the closing remark at the event, commended the achievements of the ministry.
Getting a bit political, he asked Nigerians to disregard condemnation by politicians on issues of development especially those interested in seeking election.
“When we politicians especially those of us interested in seeking 2015 elections condemn everything, please disregard us. It is obvious that Nigeria is leading in transparency and accountability in mineral exploration activities and this is attracting investors,” Mr. Maku said.