President, Miners Association of Nigeria, Sani Shehusaid the funds would help miners, especially the artisanal and small-scale operators, to explore minerals using the necessary equipment. Artisanal and small-scale miners constitute 90 per cent of those engaging in mining activities in Nigeria.
He also said that the fund would assist small-scale miners to mine large quantity of minerals, adding that this would be of enormous value to the development of the economy.“The value and volume of what they mine must be a priority to the government because most of the industrial minerals are mined by small-scale miners; they can do better if empowered financially,” he said.
He called on government to discourage the importation of raw materials that could be sourced locally.
He also advocated for the sensitisation of communities, states and local governments, to appreciate their limit in the areas of control of solid minerals.
“The sensitisation will reduce conflicts among the miners, communities, state and local governments. The miners are business people; they are into mining to make money and if burden and demand are too outrageous, they cannot break-even, they may quit the profession,” he said.
By Dike Onwuamaeze