Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has promised to assist artisanal and small scale miners in Kogi State with grant and incentives to enhance mining activities in the state.
Speaking at a sensitization programme organized for solid mineral stakeholders by Miners Association of Nigeria, Kogi State chapter, held in Ejule, Ofu local government area of the state on Saturday, the Principal Technical Officer of the ministry, Engr. Obasi Uwadiegwe disclosed that the federal government through the ministry is desirous of investing vigorously to encourage youth to participate actively in mining activities to improve their income generation.
According to him, artisanal and small scale miners constitute 95 per cent of mining activities in sub-sahara Africa, saying government investment in the sector will generate employment for youth and as well take them away from all forms of criminal activities.
He charged artisanal miners in the state to form cooperatives to enable them benefit from the federal government support and training and also cautioned them against the hazard in mining.
“I am urging youth in Kogi State to form cooperatives and start mining activities as an artisanal so that you can grow into a bigger miners. You should also adhere to government rules and regulations by registering with the ministry and also obey the host communities to avoid incessant conflicts,” he advised.
In his speech, the Chairman Coal Buyers Association, Kogi eastern senatorial district, Mr Gabriel Onoja commended President Muhammadu Buhari for formalizing the activities of artisanal miners in Nigeria with plans to use the ministry to train, empower and grant miners license to operate on the mining deposit sites in Kogi State.
According to him, with this arrangement, if actualized, youths restiveness and other forms of social ills in the society will be addressed, saying the youth would now channel their time and energy to productive economic activities with income generating outcomes.
“With this, the youths will now smile to the bank, government’s economic purse is swollen and the haulage operators are not also left out of economic gains.
“I am also appealing to government to assist us with payloaders, trailers, tractors excavators and other important mining machines to facilitate the mining of coal and its eventual transportation to the end users.
“Training of our members on modern mining techniques to keep them updated, approval and quick access to loans and grants to aid our operations, provision of paramedics for cases of emergency and other hazards on site as well as issuance of insurance cover for artisanal miners,” he said.
Earlier, the state chairman of Miners Association of Nigeria, Oruma Yunusa, admonished mining companies to always engaged in an open agreement to avoid incessant crises with host communities.