Folalumi Alaran in Abuja
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, has emphasised that Nigeria’s abundant solid mineral resources can serve as a vital catalyst for revitalising the nation’s economy.
The minister further affirmed that the current administration is redirecting its focus away from hydrocarbon resources.
Alake made this declaration when the Association of Licensed Small Scale Miners led by its President, Dr. Olugbenga Ajala, paid him a courtesy visit in his office at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The minister said that the ministry has initiated several deliberate policies and programmes which are geared towards achieving set objectives for economic prosperity as outlined in the roadmap that was recently released to the public.
He affirmed that the establishment of the Solid Minerals Corporation and promotion of public private ventures is crucial to these objectives, adding, “it will ensure sustainability, increase revenue accruable to government, with a significant contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
Alake acknowledged the importance of security for investors which according to him, is crucial to achieving the ministry’s vision of repositioning and sanitising the minerals sector for maximum contribution to the nation’s socio-economic development under the present administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
According to him, the ministry is committed to establishing a multi-agency task force that will put a stop to the activities of illegal miners and their collaborators.
“The government will come down firmly on these unscrupulous foreign operators sponsoring banditry to perpetrate illegal mining. Let me use this medium to appeal through you to tell those sponsors to desist or face the full wrath of the law,’’ the minister stated.
He restated that the government has given illegal miners 30-days grace, stressing it is not a punitive measure but a way to formalise and make them legitimate to continue in their trade.
He also asserted that the aim is to streamline and structure the Small Scale Artisanal Miners for maximum yield to the federal government.
Speaking earlier, the President, Association of Licensed Small Scale Miners, Dr. Ajala, informed the minister that their visit is to celebrate his appointment as Minister of Solid Minerals Development.
According to him, the association has proffered ideas and suggestions to the ministry that will advance and grow the sector for socio-economic development of the country. Some of which he said include improving data synergy between the Mining Cadastre Office and Nigeria Geological Survey Agency.