The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake has affirmed the commitment of the Federal Government to creating an enduring governance structure to herald sustainable development in the mining sector.
Speaking on the topic, “Strengthening Policies to promote Sustainable Environment for Mining Host Communities” at the 2023 West African Mining Host Communities INDABA, Alake emphasised that the administration is reviewing policies around the mining sector with a view to strengthening existing ones, discarding those out-dated and conceptualising new policies that will energise the mining sector and create an enabling environment for local, private and foreign investors.
” The governance structure is particularly very significant to move the solid minerals sector forward, not only to achieve the objectives of development but also to translate all policies into reality and achievements. We have neglected the sector over the years but that has now changed as we are not oblivious of the transitioning to clean energy globally, therefore, for our economic survival, we have shifted focus to our God-given resource that we have in abundance – solid minerals”, the Minister stated.
On host communities, Dr. Alake expressed the determination of government to ensure host communities derive maximum benefits from mining operations, asserting that environmental degradation must be reduced to the barest minimum to safeguard lives of the people and ensure their livelihood is not impacted negatively. He also restated the resolve of government to improving security of mining environment through a new security architecture, already in the works.
“Everyone of us in this hall comes from one host community or the other. We come from somewhere, and that’s a host community. So when we talk about energising, enhancing the situation of host communities, we are talking about ourselves. If we are doing it for ourselves, it means we must give the desk to the host communities. So, we must ensure that host communities receive and derive maximum benefits from mining operations in their areas. “
” There must be material benefits for this host communities. There is a clause in the Nigerian Mining Act that affects host communities. It mandates host communities and operating companies to sign Community Development Agreements (CDAs). However, given our brief experience in this sector, we’ve noticed that there are altercations in the implementation of these CDAs. There are some communities that are at loggerheads with operators, or disagreements on some clauses in the CDAs, or most importantly, the difficulty in determining who are the genuine leaders of the communities. This has led to disputes, halting development, and economic activities. At the ministry, we are conceptualising policies, creating mechanisms to reduce such disputes to the barest minimum to ensure maximum beneficiation for everyone concerned, “the Minister added.
Speaking further, Dr. Alake informed his audience that the solid minerals sector is paramount in the mind of President Bola Tinubu, noting that the strategic thinking during the formation of government identified the mining sector as a critical area that must be energised and an enduring economic structure created, such that at the end of the tenure of the Tinubu Presidency, these structures would have been entrenched so deeply that the society would have been used to a certain level of socio-economic activies and standard of living, that will be irreversible, irrespective of the government that comes after.
Special Assistant on Media to the Honourable Minister of Solid Minerals Development.
15th November, 2023.