By Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The Katsina State Government on Tuesday said it has identified no fewer than 547 artisanal miners and 442 mining sites across the state as part of efforts to improve the mining and complement federal government’s efforts of diversifying the economy from oil to the non-oil sector.
The state Commissioner for Resource Development, Mustapha Kanti Bello, who disclosed this at the empowerment and sensitisation programme for artisanal miners in Katsina, said the state would soon partner other mining companies to carry out geo-chemical survey to ascertain the commercial viability covered by the state.
He affirmed that the need for artisanal miners to have value for their products has been the major priority of the state government, hence the formation of mineral buying centre in order to checkmate the activities of buying and selling of mineral resources at their standard value in the state.
Bello added: “The process of establishing the buying centre is currently onging in collaboration with the private sector. Designs, bill of quantities and land acquisition for the centre have already been completed. The centre is to be located at Kankara.
“Benefits from government and funding agencies can only be derived when the ASM come together as cooperative societies and register with tenets of the Mining Act 2007 and all other relevant laws”.
The commissioner however said the programme was imperative considering the focus of government at all levels to diversify the economy from oil to non-oil, adding that mining is key to the economic diversification drive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “The artisanal miners are the pathfinders in the mining sector and empowering them will impact greatly on the overall economic activities of the society. This programme is second under this administration conducted by the ministry after accessing the last exercise and learning from the success or otherwise recorded in the last exercise.”