*Govt establishes N5b fund for operators
*Host communities now get 13% derivative fund
22 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said 80 percent of Nigerian miners are small-scale operators.
The minister revealed this at the ongoing 35th Annual International Conference and Exhibitions, AICE 2017, organized by the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Engineers, NAPE on Tuesday.
According to Dr. Fayemi, in view of the challenges faced by small-scale miners, the Federal Government in partnership with the Bank of Industry, BOI, has established an N5 billion fund to support their operations.
“The fund is there for them to access and use to organise and grow themselves”, he said.
Speaking further, he urged the government, to invest in the mining sector by spending money on exploration.
According to him, the government’s investment in the sector, will in turn boost interests of private players who are capable of influencing the sector’s data, thereby attracting more investors.
“The government’s participation will ensure that the mining sector becomes a supplementary revenue earner for Nigeria instead of depending on crude oil,” he noted.
The minister listed one of the challenges bedeviling the mining sector as; those encountered from host communities.
He explained that host communities who are the owners of natural resources felt cheated whenever their benefits were not considered in the process, which according to him, gave rise to collaborations between the local and state government in coming up with the 13 percent derivation fund for development of local communities.
According to him, all states of the federation have started to access and benefit from the 13 percent derivation fund.
“The government has now made sure that thirteen percent is being set aside and given to local communities out of the money realised from mining a particular mineral resource from any community”.
“And I can assure you that all states of the federation are now benefiting from the 13 percent derivative fund”, he said.
Fayemi added that the role of host communities is key to the sector, saying that their consent was now being sought before embarking on any exploration.
“The role of host communities is a key challenge. And it has now got to the stage when companies can’t mine without seeking consent from the communities who are the owners of the resources.”