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NSME laments lack of professionals in mining practice

by Business News Report

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc Olamilekan Adegbite, said that federal government will enforce sustainable mining practices. Adegbite who was represented by the Minister of State, for Mines and Steel Development, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, gave the assurance in a special address at the 21st Annual General Meeting and International Conference of the Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers, NSME, held in Abuja, with theme ‘Sustainable Mining in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges’. He said “mining operation is basically a destructive act hence the need for strict observance of all necessary procedures to protect the miner, host community and the environment while harnessing the resources beneath the earth.  As members of the global mining community, we must put in lace necessary framework in line with international best practice to promote sustainable mining in Nigeria. There are referenced standards acceptable globally like the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) which focuses on people, process and product. Other referenced global framework like Responsible Gold Mining principles (RGMP) articulated by the World Gold Council for responsible gold sourcing should be domesticated.

“The available record of about 1,700 abandoned mine sites as at 2020 with over 700 in Plateau State alone speaks volume about sustainable mining in Nigeria. There are equally reports of unsustainable mining operations in Osun, zamfara and other States of the Federation which we are vigorously trying to address. We must do everything within our sphere of influence and control as stakeholders to ensure that mining in Nigeria is made a sustainable business venture.” However, the Minister disclosed of deployment of ICT surveillance to tackle illegal mining, and added that some mining professionals were part of the illicit business, which should desist from the unwholesome practice. Earlier, in an address of welcome, the President, Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers, NSME, Prof Benson Jatau, lamented invasion of unqualified persons in the mining practice. Jatau said if mine practice is not sanitized the expected productivity and diversification of the economy would not be achieved as it is now. Professionalism. He said “this is most apt and timely as the global community focuses in the direction of sustainable mining and effective utilization of mineral resources. Nigeria as a responsible global citizen must key into this global agenda on mining. This is a serious challenge to us as members of the mining community and also to align with the present administration’s vision and aspiration of sustainable mining as best global practices. 

“Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers, NSME, has always advocated for collaboration with Government by professionalizing the practice of mining in line with worlds best practices. Unfortunately, illegal mining activities have thrived in the Nigerian minefields overtime despite efforts of Government to curb it thereby causing high revenue interest to elude Federal Government over the years. Larger scale illegal mining has been at the hands of quacks quacks operating unsafe and unprofessional practices that have no respect for the rules of the practice. The Nigerian mining industry has been invaded by all comers officialising illegalities and at the same time usurping the functions of our professionals. NSME is making a clarion call on Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) and the relevant agencies, the Mining Cadastre Office and Council of Mining Engineers and Geoscientists (COMEG) to employ cognate laws enforcing professionalism in the mining sector by invoking section 73 of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Acts, 2007 which are stated thus: Mining lease shall not be granted by the Minister to any company unless the company has employed a person who possesses adequate qualifications and experience in mining and the Minister is satisfied that the company shall, during the currency of the lease, have such qualified person in its employment.

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