The Federal Government has reiterated its support for the small scale and artisanal miners in the country, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uchekwuckwu Ogah, has said.
Ogah gave the assurances when he inspected BUA Cement Company sites on Friday in Sokoto.
He urged the company to patronise local miners on raw materials obtained within the state as a way to argument their activities.
The minister said Nigeria is blessed with huge mineral resources that should not be stolen away by criminal elements operating in various mining sites.
”Although the solid mineral is under the exclusive legislative list of the Federal Government, however, state governments could take advantage of the initiative by creating a company to participate in the mining of the mineral resource deposit in their domain,” Ogah said.
He said he was in the state to inspect the company’s activities and also to sensitize the people of Sokoto on President Buhari’s economic diversification policies on mining and associated businesses.
The minister said that Buhari has created windows for citizens to engaged in profitable mining activities.
Responding, the Director Plant Operations of BUA Company, Mr Aminu Bashir, said the company’s production capacity rose from 300 tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes and hoped to obtain increased of up to 3.5 million tonnes after completion of expansion works.
Bashir said the company enjoyed a cordial working relationship with the Sokoto state government and host communities stressing that friendly atmosphere necessitated the company’s growth.
”The state has one of the best limestone deposits in the world which requires little quantity of mixtures to produce cement.
”The company’s quarry sites are neatly prepared after excavations exercise,” he said.
Earlier, during a courtesy visit by the minister to Gov. Aminu Tambuwal assured that state government would continue to partner with the federal government to maximally tap mineral resources for wealth creation and enhanced internally generated revenues.
” Sokoto government has a strong belief in President Buhari’s economic diversification.
The state has abundant solid minerals deposits which if tap properly will boost economic wellbeing of citizens and government revenue ” Tambuwal said.
He explained that 85 per cent of the people in the state engaged in agriculture and all of our landmass are arable that can produce both cash and food crops.
The governor also said the state has a large deposit of gold besides limestone gypsum, caolin along with others as well as a recently sizable amount of hydrocarbon deposits.
Tambuwal noted that state has friendly environments as over 50 years of existence of Sokoto Cement Company there was no record of restiveness now BUA takeover and on the course to establish one of the largest cement company in the country.
He added that the state has robust investor-friendly policies in terms of hospitality and accommodation for investors.
Tambuwal explained that the OCP fertilizer would soon commence the construction of its new company as processed had reached advance stage.
“OCP is one of the leading fertilizer company in Africa and the whole world. Sokoto has one of the best deposit of phosphate”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Minister held a stakeholder meeting with members of miners associations in Sokoto state, where he enjoined miners to join cooperative groups in order to access the programmes.
NAN reports that issues of registration, environmental safety guides, compliance were discussed to ease mining within their doorsteps to ease the business transactions.
Alhaji Kabir Umar-Dodo, the Managing Director of Supreme Global Company and Chairman of Amalgamated Miners unions in Sokoto state described the meeting as timely.
Umar-Dodo appealed to the FG to provide excavators and other machines to miners in order to develop the businesses.