The Think Tank on Nigeria (TTON) organization has urged the federal government to pay more attention to recovery of gold assets in the mining sector by implementing transparent national and international bidding. This strategy had its affirmation in a 19-point resolution decided on after a discussion on the theme “The mining sector and national development” which shows that the regained gold can be secured in a vault. The organization suggested creation of a national mining company to possess the assets and get enlisted on the gold stock exchange in London, Hong Kong and United States of America (USA).
Other resolutions in the communique agreed to the establishment of gold refineries for regular refinement of gold to create ornaments and jewelry to be sold both locally and internationally. This time, there would be an application of the exact process to more than 36 minerals present in the country in commercial quantities but currently suffering exploitation by artisanal or illegal miners, with the emphasis that the government should encourage industrialization of the sector by provision of more mechanized and advanced mining technology.
Exploration licenses should be issued by the federal government to states.
According to the policy advocacy platform, this process would reduce the rate of unemployment in the country, particularly in mining communities. The local miners have required skills, knowledge and organizational skills which, through motivation from the corporate mining sector or people-oriented investors, would be improved. Any minister who would be appointed to oversee the Miles and Steel Ministry must have basic and required knowledge of the industry. The fellow must be willing to append a signature to a performance contract that will approve timelines for effective diversification of the Nigerian economy from oil to mining.
The federal and state governments were advised to have a seamless collaboration. Exploration licenses should be issued by the federal government to states in possession of natural minerals for appropriate harmonization of artisanal miners into cooperative societies. Before the implementation of this strategy, a state of emergency should be declared in the industry because many valuable minerals are illegally mined and sold on a daily basis with no returns to the government. Making major stakeholders of local government areas in mining sites curb insurgency and burden exploitation by foreigners with no good intentions.
Basic primary amenities should be provided to host communities.
Additionally, to effectively tackle the challenge of natural resources exploitation in the country, security operatives should be ready to show political willpower and readiness. The regulatory agency of the ministry should also ensure remedial measures that mandate mining companies to put measures in place for remediation of the environment that has suffered from mining exploration activities. Mining operations are responsible for generation of fine dust and soot that are toxic to humans. For this reason, provision of basic primary health facilities to host communities should be made compulsory for mining companies.
Government, ministry and regulatory agency are saddled with the responsibility of creating a unit for supervision of remedial work to resuscitate the environment of local communities that have been negatively impacted by mining activities and management of situations of the environment and post-mining activities. The resolution also suggested Public Private Partnership (PPP) as a means of improving the proposed initiative. With private participation, there would be a break down of the value chain and expected participatory roles from the private sector. By doing so, there would be a reduction of theft in the mining sector.
The mining industry’s labour force lack formality and are underpaid.
Furthermore, the Nigerian Customs Service is required to more efficiently reduce the increase in illegal exportation of natural resources out of the country which goes through the process of Nigeria’s border post. The deliberation highlighted that notwithstanding the industry’s ability to boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the country, it suffers depletion, underproduction and underutilization to the detriment of national development. The communique asserted that the labour force in the industry lack formality, proper training and are underpaid, asking how the situation can be changed.