Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo says a ministry of mining would be established to fast track the development of mining activities in the state.
Obaseki announced this in his remarks at the close of a two-day workshop on solid mineral development organised by the Edo Government in Benin on Friday.
He said that the state was yet to take full advantage of its investment potential in the mining sector as there was no structure put in place to coordinate its activities.
”Mining has been a federal affair with the states having little roles to play; but, we have seen the clarification that has been made by the Minister of Solid Minerals.
‘’It used to be a portfolio restricted to the Federal Government.
‘’We want to restructure mining in Edo and in the portfolio we have created, a commissioner will oversee the ministry of Mining,’’ he said.
Obaseki said that the ministry would be charged with the responsibility of data gathering, policy formation, implementation and regulation of mining activities, adding that already over 250 mining licenses had been obtained in the state.
He said that mining as a business could be more profitable if it were market-demand-driven and done by large scale miners, and not solely by small-scale artisans.
He assured that the state would come up with environment standards to regulate pollution concerns associated with mining activities.
The governor, however, sought the support of private investors in the mining sector to help in the training of skilled miners in the state.
Some of the participants commended the workshop initiative, saying that it would have a positive impact on mining activities in the state.
They noted that investment in mining would lead to job creation, increase internally-generated revenue via taxation and overall indoctrination of the state.