The Federal Government is working on an equipment-leasing scheme for the Nigeria Miners Association (NMA), in order to ensure that its members scale up their mining operations.
The equipment-leasing arrangement, according to Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. kayode Fayemi, is in addition to financial support in the form of access to financing through some commercial banks and the Bank of Industry, which the ministry is partnering with.
Dr. Fayemi who addressed stakeholders in the minerals and mining sector at the town hall meetings held in Lagos and Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, last weekend, also assured the miners that would also benefit from the N30billion intervention fund approved by the federal Government.
Stressing that mining remained a capital intensive project, the Minister said the Nigerian mining sector is currently dominated by artisanal miners, adding that it was important for government to support them to increase their capacity and productivity.
He noted that while many of the artisanal miners rely on crude implement for their operations, availability of modern equipment would made their operations more profitable.
“Government is committed to the scheme. Our miners cannot achieve much as long as they rely on shovel and digger for their work. We also know that modern equipment are quite costly. So, government would make arrangements with financial institutions and some operators to make the equipment available for leasing.
The Minister also urged state governments to commence a comprehensive registration of artisanal miners operating in their respective states for proper monitoring.
He also tasked the miners on the need to organize themselves into cooperative groups and apply for operating licenses from government, in addition to other forms of support.