…Set aside N5b for local miners
From: Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
The Federal Government has promised to investigate a gold miner licence operator, ISS-Hass Ltd, operating in Geri Awwal village, Fakai Local Government of Kebbi State, for alleged neglect of the agreement reached with the host community.
The Daily Sun gathered that ISS-Hass Ltd, a Chinese mining company, has been in the community more than three years exploring gold, but it had failed to develop its area of operation.
It was also learnt that part of the agreement reached included the establishment of school, roads, mosques, provision of portable water, employment to youths, among others which the company failed to implement.
Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who paid a visit to the host community, at the weekend, along Minister of State of the Ministry, Alhaj Bwari Abubakar expressed disappointment over how the licence operator treated the people of the area.
The company’s spokesman, Muhammed Adamu, had claimed that instead of getting 700 ounce of gold per month, they are only getting 200 ounce,making it difficult to meet up with their expectations.
Speaking with Daily Sun after his inspection, Fayemi said; “We have seen what our artisan miners could do which professional on this business failed to achieve. That is from the very little efforts they are putting in place,with their own efforts,digging and organise themselves. What we need to do is to enter into partnership with the state, to assist these miners so that they could have land to operate, technical support as a way of improving their productivities, and ensure that they utilise the equipment beyond exploring mercury to boral and finally support them through Bank of Industry.
“We have N5 billion in Bank of Industry for the use of small scale artisan miners,not for only self equipping,but to contribute to the economic development of Kebbi State,through that our economic will grow.”
Expressing disappointment over commitment of license operator, Fayemi said, “The provision of the law stipulates that any licence operator must provide community support and this must be capture in an agreement which we call community development. I heard the village head that all things they promised,none of them were done. No school,they have not seen anything. They just done rudimentary road that provide access to the operator.
“That is not normal, now our role is to investigate why this operator failed to fulfill these agreement. You heard the operator that their expectations have not been met,we would investigate this and see why it is possible for rudimentary operators ,artisan’s miners to produce higher mining of gold than licence operator who should be major drive of this economy if we are to go by efforts they put in place by setting up this facility in Fakai Local Government Area of Kebbi State. If we find out they they are not honest,definitely, they would be sanction”.
Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of the state, in his remark after the inspection, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for the good policy which made the state to excel in agriculture stressed that the people of Kebbi State are ready to replicate the same achievement through mining.