- As FG set to reclaim 1,235 abandoned mining sites
Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
No fewer than 1,200 mining experts, 180 mines and exploration companies and 24 countries are set to grace the 2019 4th Nigeria Mining Conference and Exhibition next week in Abuja.
Disclosing this Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s Head Advisory/Mining Leader, Price Water Cooper (PwC) Mr. Cyril Azobu, said that the event with the theme: “Removing the roadblocks along the value chain: Setting the mining industry as a key driver for economic growth,” was in continuation of the implementation of the roadmap by the new ministers, albeit with adjustments and enhancements made to certain aspects to ensure the targets that had been set were met.
Azobu, observed that to achieve progress, there must be close collaboration amongst key stakeholders and also believes that the Nigeria Mining Week is an excellent platform to drive this.
According to him, “The Nigeria Mining Week is an irresistible destination. It is the foremost event that provides an opportunity for promoting solid minerals endowment in Nigeria as it aims to attract and discuss issues as it relates to mining.”
Responding, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, stated that the conference which happens to be his and his counterpart first major interaction with the stakeholders should be ministry-led despite that it was private sector’s driven.
Adegbite, noted that henceforth, more efforts would be put into the mining week, noting that planning for 2020 event will commence immediately.
He said: “We will surpass what oil and gas is doing for Nigeria. If we get the work right, we will surpass the earnings from oil and gas. Mining is not an immediate thing and it needs a lot of inputs.
“In the 60s, mining was the main thing of the Nigerian economy. At that time, we were very good on coal and tin mining from Jos and all that. Nigeria was recognised for that, for commodities but I think with the advent of oil and gas, a lot of people abandoned mines.”
Speaking further, he said, “ministry took cautious support and when they conducted inventories of abandoned mining sites, as of the last count, there were 1260 abandoned sites. Now, every year we make provision for the recovery of this mining sites.”
He added that, at times they are useful because they form artificial lakes, water gets collected in them and this water becomes useful especially in dry season farming for those areas where they use them. Stating that they also constitute dangers to people because in some places, vegetation has grown and you don’t know there is a hole there. If you fall into that, it is almost impossible to get out.
“It’s a continuous process reclaiming this abandoned sites, because when they are recovered, they almost spoil soil base for farming and I think so far, the ministry has been able to recover 25 sites from 2007 that the programme started.
“We have been able to get about 25, but in our budget every year, we also try to put money for reclaiming abandoned mining sites. We do get some money. We must say that 25 to 1260 is a far cry but it’s a start and we would continue on that,” Adegbite said.