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Mining Marshals in high demand indicating sectoral support for security policy:  Alake

L-R: Dr. Oladele Alake, Honourable Minister for Solid Minerals Development; Governor (Engr.) Abdullahi A. Sule of Nasarawa State; and Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, Minister for Steel Development, at the Summit on Sustainable Development of Mining Industry in Nigeria, in Abuja, FCT       Photo: State House

*Dr. Oladele Alake, Minister for Solid Minerals Development, affirms his leadership is poised to ensure that Nigeria becomes a global mining destination, stating the Ministry is making efforts at alleviating bottlenecks and addressing salient decades-long challenges in the mining industry

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Dr. Oladele Alake, Honourable Minister for Solid Minerals Development, has said the increasing demand for the services of newly established 2,220-man Mining Marshals by mining firms confirms support of the industry stakeholders for the policy in Nigeria.

The Minister noted this development in his keynote address at the mining  conference organised by the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Alake disclosed about three firms even requested the services of the Rapid Response Corps (Mining Marshals) between 8a.m and 10a.m Sunday April 28, 2024.

He said in response to the increasing demand for their service, the Mining Marshals are currently in Osun, Kogi, Kwara and Nasarawa, resulting in the arrest of some culprits pillaging the West African country’s mineral resources.

Segun Tomori, Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Monday, April 29, stated Dr. Alake revealed the Mining Marshals are the “coercive component of the administration’s carrot and stick approach to combating illegal mining undermining security in the sector.”

The Minister also announced that the persuasive component, which entails artisanal miners forming co-operatives to legalise their operations, has yielded fruits as 152 new co-operatives came on board between September 2023 and March 2024.

Update on activation of Seven-Point Agenda for mining sector

In regard to a progress report of the implementation of the Seven-Point Agenda he unveiled on assumption of office to the select audience of stakeholders, Alake declared that with the ongoing efforts at sanitising and repositioning the mining sector of the economy, Nigeria is poised to become a top global mining destination.

He, therefore, commended the NIPSS for prioritising the mining sector and appreciating its strategic value in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s plans to diversify the economy.

The Minister further stated: “As the foremost government think-tank, this stakeholders’ roundtable will enrich NIPSS analysis of the sector and recommendations on the steps to be taken to enable the sector deliver on its mandate.”

Highlighting other achievements of the  agenda, Alake as well indicated that processes for enacting legislations for the establishment of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation are already underway in the National Assembly (NASS), through the House Committee on Solid Minerals Development.

He said: “We are working with consultants to ensure the smooth emergence of a corporation which will be private sector driven.

“We are looking at a corporation with a structure that has 50 percent equity for the private sector; 25 percent for members of the public; 25 percent for the federal government.

“Our vision is to erect private-sector led enduring structures for the corporation that will foster efficiency, outlive the present administration, and consequently wean it from future government interference.”

Aggregating data on Nigeria’s mineral deposits for efficiency

On the imperative of generating comprehensive data of mineral deposits to derisk the sector, Alake stated that in collaboration with the World Bank, an aeromagnetic survey had been conducted across the country.

According to him, the effort has given a superficial analysis of mineral spread and deposits.

The Minister also noted that a more detailed exploration is being pursued to enable investors to make informed investment decisions in the mining industry in Nigeria.

He stated: “The importance of data for investors can not be overemphasised.

“With accurate data, investors will be able to project the commercial value of mineral deposits and make informed investment decisions.”

Alake further revealed “we have signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with German firm, GeoScan GmBN, and we are making strenuous efforts to partner with scientific and data-driven agencies, renowned globally, to be able to generate the requisite big geo-data that will attract international big players.”

As regards other aspects of the industry roadmap, including the revised guidelines for Community Development Agreement (CDA), which make it mandatory to get the consent of host communities before application for mining, the Minister stated that the licences are already operational.

The revocation of dormant licences and inclusion of plans for value addition alongside application for licences are now a Federal Government policy.

According to the Minister, efforts at marketing the mining sector are yielding results as global mining company, Glencore, recently expressed interest in Nigeria’s mining sector.

Likewise, advocacy for value addition led to his election as Chairman of African Minerals Strategy Group (AMSG) – a forum of African Ministers of Solid Minerals/Mineral Resources, said he.

Alake asserted: “My objective as the Minister is to work to ensure that Nigeria becomes a global mining destination for the first time in history and we are working to make this happen by alleviating bottlenecks and addressing salient challenges that have plagued the sector for decades.”

The Minister charged NIPSS to utilise the summit to synthesise suggestions and advance recommendations that will assist the Federal Government in sustaining the development of the mining sector.

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