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FG sets aside N5 Billion for local miners

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The Federal Government has set aside N5 billion to empower artisan
miners across the country as part of measures to ensure participation
of all Nigerians in economic development.

The Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Dr. Kayode Fayemi,
disclosed this on Saturday when he inspected the gold mining site at
Garin Awal at Fakai Local Government Area in Kebbi State.

“We have N5 Billion in Bank of Industry for the use of small scale
artisan miners, not only for self-equipping but to contribute to the
economic development of Kebbi state and Nigeria, so that our economy
will grow,” he said.

Fayemi explained that ISS-Hass Ltd, a Chinese mining company, has been
in the community exploiting gold for more than three years.

He however added that the mining company had failed to develop the
area by establishing schools, building roads, as well as providing
portable water and employment for the youth, as part of an agreement
entered into with the company.

The Minister promised to investigate the allegations against the
licensed operator in Garin Awal Village, Fakai Local Government of
Kebbi State for alleged breach of agreement reached with the host
community.

“We have seen what our artisan miners can do, which professionals in
this business failed to achieve.

“That is from the very little efforts they are putting in place with
their own efforts, digging and organising themselves.

“What we need is to enter into partnership with the state, to assist
these miners, so that they could have land to operate, technical
support as a way of improving their productivity and ensuring that
they utilise the equipment beyond exploring mercury and finally
support them through the Bank of Industry,” he said.

The minister expressed disappointment over the lack of commitment of
licensed operators.

“The provision of the law stipulates that licensed operators must
provide community support and this must be captured in an agreement,
which we call Community Development Agreement.

“The village head has told us that all the things they promised, none
of them were done. No school, they have not seen anything. They just
did rudimentary road that provides access for the operators,” he said.

In his remarks, the state governor,  Abubakar Bagudu, expressed
appreciation to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for its
good policies, saying they had made the state to excel in agriculture.

Bagudu said the people of the state were ready to replicate the same
achievement in the mining sector.

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