By Francisca Oluyole
The Federal Government has earmarked additional funds to scale up mining activities from it current zero level in the country, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said.
Fayemi said on Tuesday in Enugu at a meeting with stakeholders in the mining industry, that the fund would be used to support small scale miners.
The minister disclosed that the government would also support the miners with technology and mining equipment.
According to him, the government will ensure the safety of communities where mining is taking place and ensure that all abandoned mine sites are reclaimed.
He said that government also plan to address areas ravaged by erosion, especially in the southeast, due to mining activities.
The minister said some of the challenges confronting the ministry were lack of sufficient geological data, funding, illegal mining and inadequate infrastructure.
According to Fayemi, insufficient geological data about mineral quantity, the reserve, commercial viability had affected the sector over the years, adding that the ministry is working out modality to solve the challenge.
He said the tension between states and Federal Government over rights to land resources would soon be resolved.
The minister noted that majority mining operators in Enugu State were operating illegally and warned them to regularise their operations or be prosecuted.
“The same thing was discovered in Abia and Anambra; even those with licenses are not using them, this will make the ministry to counsel or revoke their licenses and give them to serious minded miners.”
The News Agency of Nigeria [NAN] reports that Fayemi and his Minister of State are on a nationwide tour to all mine sites to build stakeholders confidence, get feedback, identify challenges and proffer solutions.
The ministers have so far visited Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Nasarawa, Benue and Enugu states.