The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchechukwu Ogah, says the Federal Government will support small-scale and artisanal miners across the country,
The minister gave the assurance when he inspected the sites of BUA Cement Company on Friday in Sokoto.
Ogah urged the company to patronise local miners for the supply of those raw materials which could be obtained within the state so as to augment its raw materials requirements.
He stressed that Nigeria was blessed with huge mineral resources which should not be pilfered by criminal elements operating at various mining sites.
“Although solid minerals mining is under the exclusive legislative list of the Federal Government, however state governments could take advantage of the initiative by creating companies that could participate in the mining of the deposits of mineral resources in their domains,” he said.
Ogah said that he was in Sokoto State to inspect the company’s activities and sensitise the people of the state to the economic diversification policies of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on mining and allied businesses.
He said that the Buhari-administration had created windows for the citizens to engage in profitable mining activities.
Responding, Mr Aminu Bashir, the Director Plant Operations of BUA Company, said that the company’s cement production capacity rose from 300 tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes and would increase to about 3.5 million tonnes after completion of plant expansion works.
Bashir said the company enjoyed cordial working relationship with the Sokoto State Government and its host communities, adding that the friendly atmosphere had necessitated the company’s growth.
“The state has one of the best limestone deposits in the world; its limestone requires little quantity of mixtures to produce cement.
“The company’s quarry sites are neatly prepared after excavations,” he said.
Earlier, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal, during a courtesy visit by the minister, pledged that the state government would continue to partner with the Federal Government to maximally exploit mineral resources in the state to boost wealth creation and internally generated revenues.
“The Sokoto State Government has strong belief in President Buhari’s economic diversification policies. Our state has abundant solid minerals deposits, which if properly developed, will boost the economic wellbeing of citizens and the government’s revenue,” he said.
Tambuwal said the state had large deposits of gold, limestone, gypsum and kaolin, as well as some hydrocarbon deposits.
Regent Times reports the minister held a stakeholders’ meeting with members of miners’ associations in Sokoto State, where he advised miners to form or join cooperative groups in order to have access to the Federal Government’s programmes.
At the meeting, issues of registration, environmental safety guides and compliance, among others, were discussed.