The President of the ECOWAS Federation of Chambers of Mines (EFEDCOM), Mr. Kwame Addo-Kufuor, has enjoined large-scale mining companies in the sub-region to promote innovative mining practices that protect the environment and enhance the livelihoods of people. This, he said, will ensure that responsible mining practices gain grounds in West Africa.
Mr. Addo-Kufuor was speaking at Nigeria’s Mining Week celebration held in Abuja from 16th -19th October, 2017. The event, which is the 2nd edition, brought together captains of the mining sector, entrepreneurs and businesses from other sectors of the Nigerian economy and the sub-region.
The Nigeria Mining Week celebration comes on the heels of the recent phenomenal development of the minerals sector in West Africa’s economic powerhouse. The event brought together stakeholders across the country and beyond to network and identify opportunities in the sector for further development.
Mr. Addo-Kufuor praised the collaboration between the Miners Association of Nigeria and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in putting together the event and emphasized the benefits of a well-developed mining sector for Nigeria’s economy. He stated that “there is the need to look beyond tax revenues and to harness linkages between mining and other sectors of the Nigerian economy in order to drive the country’s industrialization agenda.” Mr. Addo-Kufuor stressed the need for clear and consistent mining laws and regulations as a critical ingredient in enhancing confidence and attracting investment into the sector.
Touching on illegal mining, Mr Addo-Kufuor explained the complex and regional nature of the problem by sharing experiences from Ghana and steps being taken by the Government of Ghana and other key actors to address the problem. He called for private sector collaboration with Governments in the sub-region in exploring alternative livelihood opportunities to help address the challenge.
Mr. Addo-Kufuor, who is also the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, stated that the Federation is committed to working with Governments and other organizations in the sub-region to provide thought leadership in addressing the issues plaguing mining.
On his part, Nigeria’s Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Hon. Babatunde Raji Fashola, stressed the importance of mining in the infrastructural development of the nation. Pursuant to this, Hon Fashola stated that: “the Federal Government is seeking to invest US$5.9 billion in the building of a 3000 megawatts Hydro-electric dam. Most of the funds required would be spent on materials from quarries and this would invariably generate employment for the teeming youth.”
He averred that although the cost of such a project may seem very daunting, the major beneficiaries would be the mineral producers and miners across the country as well as the Federal Government as a whole.
He was optimistic that developing greater linkages with other sectors of the Nigerian economy will go a long way to improve the lives of the teeming youth through well paid employment opportunities. He urged the mining companies to collaborate on identifying common innovative technologies that can be deployed to improve the efficiencies in their operations.
Contributing to the discussion, Gov. Darius Dickson Ishaku, Governor of Nigeria’s Taraba State criticized the issuance of licenses from the federal capital without prior consultation with the local governments, and warned that as a Governor, he will prevent operators with such licenses from engaging in any form of mining in his area. He called for greater collaboration between the Federal Government and the state in regulating the operations of miners in the country. He entreated the Federal Government to engage host communities at every stage of the mine process to deepen tansparency.
Gov. Ishaku further called for a ban on the importation of minerals when such minerals are available in his state and can be exploited for local use.