Uche Usim, Abuja
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has advised local miners desirous of benefitting from the N5 billion Mining Fund to obtain valid licenses and other vital documents before approaching the Bank of Industry (BoI)with their requests.
Speaking on Tuesday at a stakeholder engagement for operators captured under the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) in Abuja, Adegbite said that the Buhari administration was determined to address the protracted challenge of inadequate funding which has crippled artisanal miners who make up 90% of the sector.
He revealed that as at September 30, 2020, 138 applications totaling N14.59 billion have been received and were being processed.
“So far, 13 loan applications totaling N1.08 billion have been approved under the Fund. Out of this, the sum of N311 million has been disbursed as at September 30, 2020”, he noted.
The Minister revealed that the Ministry has registered 1,495 mining cooperatives with each having over 10 members. Out of that figure, registered mining cooperatives, 140 are gold mining cooperatives.
He added that the North-West has the highest number of registered cooperatives while the South-East has the least. According to him, Nigeria is blessed with abundant mineral resources that need to be urgently harnessed, especially as dwindling crude oil receipts can no longer buoy the country’s economy.
The Minister explained that the disbursement of the N5 billion intervention fund, which comes with a five percent interest, has been slow because a lot of miners approached the BoI with fake licenses and other forged documents, thus making their requests invalid. He reminded the credit seekers that the money was a loan and not a grant, urging them to put it into judicious use.
The Minister said: “So far, the Ministry has registered 368 Private Mineral Buying Centre operators, across the country. The Ministry has continued to ensure that host communities to mining activities receive the socio-economic benefits of such ventures through the Community Development Agreements in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.