The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development on Thursday launched revised guidelines for the production of the Community Development Agreement (CDA).
The ministry launched the guidelines in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the ministry, the CDA is a statutory provision that ensures the transfer of socio-economic benefits to mining host communities. It is a legal document that contains obligations by the Mineral Title Holder (MTH) to her host community (ies) and vice versa.
Speaking at the launch on Thursday, Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, said, “As you are aware, mining projects have the potential to impact the communities in which they are domiciled positively and negatively.”
He explained that while the positive effects are desirable, the negative ones are often met with incessant complaints and sometimes resistance which may lead to forceful closure or suspension of activities in the mines.
Mr Alake said with the communities becoming more aware and vocal with regard to their socio-economic benefits from mining companies, their expectations for immediate and future benefits have increased.
Also, he said the mining companies are now more concerned about the need and means by which to obtain and sustain their social licenses to operate as well as for community support.
Therefore, he added that the CDAs are increasingly being used by mining companies as a means to better define their relationships and obligations with their host communities.
“It readily provides a means of strengthening and advancing their relationship. The general vision of a CDA is to improve the relationships between the companies, their host communities, the governments, the civil societies and other stakeholders; and to promote sustainable and mutually rewarding benefits from mining projects to the host communities,” he said.
“CDAs in the mining sector ensure that the mining communities are carried along by the mining operators, which is why the federal government thought it wise to enshrine the Community Development Agreement in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act (NMMA), 2007.
“Section 116 (1) of NMMA, 2007 makes the Community Development Agreement between the Mineral Title Holders and the Mining Communities mandatory,” he added.
Mr Alake further explained that the concept of CDA has been introduced in the solid minerals sector to promote harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship between the mining companies and their host communities.
According to hum, this will help to forestall in the 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 economy.
“Since the inception of the Act, the ministry has through the Mines Environmental Compliance Department continued to make demands on the companies for the conclusion of the CDA and has carried out several sensitisation programmes to foster stakeholders’ engagement in CDA negotiations that will ensure transfer of social benefits to host communities as well as social licence for the Mineral Title Holders to operate in a peaceful, secure and conducive business environment; this approach has yielded a win-win situation for all stakeholders,” he said.
So far, he said the ministry has recorded increased compliance levels in the implementation of CDA covenants by MTH through field monitoring, enlightenment, education and sensitisation exercises.
Level of compliance
He said about 252 companies have signed CDAs with their host communities with projects like the provision of boreholes, electricity, schools, health centres, road constructions and scholarships according to the identified needs of their host communities.
“However, there are still some companies that are yet to comply with the provision of this Section of the Act and the ministry is not relenting on its enforcement to ensure that all MTHs comply accordingly.
“In order to facilitate the implementation of the CDA and address some of the issues mentioned earlier, the ministry had in 2014 developed a guideline for use in the sector, taking into consideration the shortcomings often associated with CDA documents previously submitted to the ministry by the Mineral Title Holders.”
Gaps in CDA guidelines
Mr Alake said in the course of a review of CDA documents submitted by the MTHs with their host communities over the past nine years, the ministry has identified some gaps in the existing CDA guidelines and because of numerous complaints and petitions from the communities, there is the need for a review of the guidelines to meet global best practices.
“Therefore, the main objective of the launch is to create awareness on the importance of a Community Development Agreement for sustainable mineral resources development in our dear Country, Nigeria,” he said.
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