The Federal Government has urged mining operators in the country to focus more on beneficiation against shipment of raw minerals out of the country.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this Monday at Udegen Mbeki Development Area in Nasarawa State during a tour of mining sites in Ugya and Udegen areas of Nasarawa State.
Dr Fayemi who also visited the Emir of Udegen Chiefdom, Alhaji Halilu Bala Usman, in his palace, said government recognized the importance of host communities and urged them to collaborate with government in its plans to diversify the economy and create jobs through mining.
The Minister and the Minister of State, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari, who are on the second leg of a nation-wide tour of mining sites and host communities, stressed that government’s economic diversification drives would be realised if mining operators focus more on setting up processing plants to process minerals before exporting them.
“We believe that collaboration of Federal and State governments on mining matters would result in maximum benefits to the States and the people.
“We do not want the resources of our land to be taken away without regards to what comes to you and the care of the environment”, the minister said.
The Emir of Udegen, Alhaji Halilu Bala Usman, thanked the Ministers for the visit and said that his community was second only to Jos then in the mining of Tin and Columbite. He lamented that his community was now left with underdeveloped and riddled with abandoned pits.
He called on the Federal Government to collaborate with the major mining company in the community to develop road infrastructure in the area and get their Social responsibility Agreement signed in 2012 according to the provisions of the 2007 Mining Act to be respected.
Earlier, Dr. Fayemi had inspected mining operations at the Kenyang Mining Company’s columbite mining site in Udegen and HSHF Overseas marble quarrying site in Ugya, where he advised that they take steps to set up processing plants and begin to add value to their products and create more jobs.
He informed management of the companies that government was ready to assist with relevant support in the process adding that government was against exportation of raw mineral.
The Minister also urged them to let the host communities experience long lasting benefit by providing them amenities including portable water from the dam which their mining activities had created.