THE Federal Government has pledged to continue its fight against illegal mining and mineral export in Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, disclosed at the maiden media briefing held by the National Council on Mining and Minerals Resource Development, NCMMRD, on its conference slated for September 12-14, 2017, in Abuja.
He said that the war was targeted at bringing about rapid development of the sector as well as ensuring that genuine investors reap maximum fruits of their investments.
Bwari said the Council deemed it necessary to hold the conference in order to consolidate on the achievements of the government in the sector.
He said: "The National Council on Mining and Minerals Resource Development, NCMMRD, is basically an interactive platform where stakeholders meet annually to advice and recommend ways of improving the sector.
"It is an advisory in nature but we are determined to ensure that its deliberations and recommendations form part of the ministry's policies and programmes in future.
"We will therefore be relying heavily on the recommendation of the council in reviewing or initiating robust policies that will increase the contribution of the mining sector to the nation's economy.
"The NCMMRD will be holding its maiden meeting on September 12-14, 2017, in Abuja. We expect that the following issues will be deliberated upon they meet next week. The issues include mineral sector governance; challenges of federal/regional cooperation, illegal mining and export challenges; policy recommendations, mines field security challenges; social and environmental concerns, modalities for creating effective regulations for the solid mineral and metal sector, and strategies for the implementation of the Minerals Roadmap for national development."
Meanwhile, the National President, Miners Association of Nigeria, MAN, Shehu Sani, described the inauguration as long overdue, and urged that the council should have direct access to the Minister.
"The council is coming at the right the time because is part of what is required to launch the industry to the next level. The council is long overdue, and is going to be the bigger platform that will advise the minister on what is required for the sector because all the industries are represented in the council.
"We appeal to the minister to use the advice that council will be given, including whistle blowing. We believe the council will be reporting directly to the Minister, if not the effort of the council might be marred by civil service bureaucracy. Where funding is involved the Minster should give the necessary support.
"A review of mining situation should be part of the reporting in terms of irregularities, illegalities, gaps and successes. For the council to achieve the purpose they are established the council should have direct access to the Minster."