As the re-appointed minister of mines and steel development, Muhammed Sada settles down to work, miners have tasked him to redouble his efforts to transform the mineral sub-sector.
One important area the miners want the minister to intervene is in the assets of the disbanded Nigerian Mining Corporation(NMC).
National President of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Sani Shehu, said on Wednesday in Jos that the corporation’s assets that were lying waste should be sold to them.
``Since the Corporation folded up around 1995, some of its assets that were scattered across the country were neither sold nor the licences allocated and they are wasting away.
``The minister of mines and steel development should engage the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) towards returning the assets to the cadastral office for onward allocation to miners.”
Shehu also tasked the minister to sustain the integration of the informal miners into cooperatives to curb illegal mining activities and bring sanity into the lowest cadre of miners.
According to him, the establishment of the Mineral Development Fund(MDF) as enshrined in the Mineral and Mining Act 2007 should be vigorously pursued by the minister.
The president explained that the fund, when fully operational, would be a pool that could draw funds from World Bank and other international financial organisations.
``The fund, when finally established, should be used to provide critical infrastructure for various mines like access road and water which are essential to mining activities.”
Shehu explained that providing such amenities would attract foreign investors and partners while also providing relevant equipment for small scale miners.
He said miners were happy over the minister’s reappointment as that would afford him the opportunity to carry on with the reforms he had started in the sector.
According to him, Sada had always involved the association in major issues that affected the sector particularly the review of the mining regulation launched in April 2011.
``We are happy with his re-appointment because he made it a duty to involve stakeholders particularly MAN in most processes of the ministry.
``Before now, we had inconclusive mining laws and regulations, but he came and completed the process.
``But we now have the Mineral and Mining Act with mining regulation that guides its use,” he said.
He also said that it was under Sada that the mining cadastre office, which was responsible for issuance, cancellation, suspension and adjustment of mining titles, became autonomous.