The federal government has emphasized the essentiality of community consent for obtaining mining licenses in Nigeria, warning that failure to adhere to this requirement could result in the revocation of licenses.
Speaking at the BusinessDay Solid Minerals Conference in Abuja, Minister for solid minerals Dele Alake highlighted the significance of Community Development Agreements (CDAs) in ensuring that mining activities benefit host communities. He expressed disappointment over the low number of companies that had signed CDAs and vowed to enforce compliance with revised guidelines, imposing penalties on violators.
Alake also announced plans to establish a private-sector-driven Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation, with legislation in progress to create the institution. The corporation aims to limit government ownership to a maximum of 25%, with public and private investors holding the remaining shares. Emphasizing the need to learn from past challenges, Alake stressed the importance of market-driven operations to enhance profitability and capital formation in the sector.
Efforts to combat illegal mining and support artisanal miners were highlighted, with the registration of over 2,000 artisanal miners’ cooperatives and the licensing of buying centers across the country. Additionally, the Ministry aims to improve the Nigerian Mining and Minerals Act of 2007 to align with evolving national priorities.
Stakeholders at the conference underscored the need for a secure environment, strong regulation, and community engagement to attract investments and ensure sustainable mining practices. They highlighted challenges such as insecurity, regulatory gaps, and the need for professional capacity building in the sector.
Calls for reforms to enhance regulation, capacity building, and equitable distribution of benefits from mining activities echoed throughout the discussions, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts between government, private sector, and local communities for the sector’s sustainable development.
IMAGE: Miiners Masanga