By Francisca Oluyole
Stakeholders in the mining sector have urged the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to channel the N30 billion intervention fund recently approved by the Federal Government towards achieving a credible mineral data base.
A communique at the end of the Mining Week on Tuesday in Abuja, stated that the stakeholders stressed the importance of transparency in the utilisation of the fund.
it recommended that the fund be channeled through development institutions rather than commercial banks, as mining was capital intensive.
It called on various financial institutions at the local and international levels to provide to the sector funding interventions at single digit interest rate for longer period.
The stakeholders also acknowledged the importance of bankable and authentic mineral data in the overall development of the sector and urged the relevant authorities to work collaboratively.
The event recognised the need to formalise, regulate and build capacity of Artisnal and Small Scale Miners (ASM) who presently dominate the operations in the sector.
According to participants, if ASM are not supported, their activities will be frustrate and will threaten the full actualisation of the sector’s potentials, health, safety and the environment.
The negative impact of poor infrastructure on the growth of the sector was noted and they urged the government to provide critical infrastructure such as roads, rail and port facilities.
The participants identified the role of states in developing the mineral sector and called for mutual collaboration among the federal, state governments and the mining investors.
The participants called for the need and expectations of communities in mining areas and all inclusive strategy in community engagement to ensure their interests.
The stakeholders commended the ministry’s mineral road map, saying it was largely balanced and should form the basis for a more robust development of the mining sector.
However, the participants endorsed the need to ensure that the first Nigeria Mining Week be sustained as a yearly event, aimed at bringing the mining world to Nigeria.
The participants thanked the current executive of the Miners Association and Dolf Madi International Consulting for conceptualising, planning and successfully implementing the event.
NAN reports that the mining week attracted a wide range of participants, investors, financial institutions, mining operators, government, academic, research and development agencies and other stakeholders.
The event addressed issues and challenges facing the mining sector which include minerals data, finance, capacity building, artisanal and small scale mining.
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development declared the event as a yearly ceremony at the end of the week