The federal government has expressed its readiness to collaborate with Osun State in the development of the mining sector in the state.
The federal government has also assured the state of its commitment to collaborate with the relevant government agencies to ensure proper exploration of the mineral resources in the state.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite, stated these when he visited the governor at the Governor’s Office, Osogbo.
This is even as the governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola, has appealed to the federal government to allow full participation of states in the mining sector by moving mining matters from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List in order for states to also legislate on mining and related matters.
The minister, who described Osun as a ‘home of gold,’ reiterated the federal government’s commitment to support the state in its efforts to properly harness her mineral potential for the development of the state in particular and the country at large.
He said government was ready to give the necessary support to Osun and Zamfara states, which he described as states with the largest gold deposits in the country.
Adegbite, enjoined the state government to support the Segilola mining firm in its bid to unlock the mining potential in the state.
“Osun State occupies a critical position in the mining sector. That is why I found it very important to be here today to discuss on how to develop solid minerals.
“The development of mining sector is not a new thing. We have been on it for quite a number of years at least in the last ten years. But that wouldn’t happen until we have the big players.
“What we have now in Nigeria is just surface mining. The real mining is about 500 metres down and this needs proper mining. That is why we are here in the state to discuss on how to actualise this objective.
“As a country, we have been trying to attract people to mining, but all we need is to have the big players to develop the sector. But, we have discovered that those that we have met talked about consistency, policy focus among others, and that has been the bane of developing the sector.
“Another related issue is the need to bring in the big players that can really invest in mining since much couldn’t be earned from the artisanal miners.
“There is no doubt that mining has the capacity to create jobs and wealth. That is why we have come to collaborate with the state government to revitalise the sector.”
The minister added: “We are ready to collaborate with the Osun State Government to develop the mining sector. It is evident that Osun and Zamfara have the largest gold deposits. We are ready to partner with the two states to ensure proper exploration.
“Osun is lucky because there is Segilola Mining Firm which is already in place. We want the government to support it.”
In his remarks, Oyetola advocated the full participation of states in the mining sector.
He appealed to the concerned authorities to review and move mining matters from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List so as to allow full participation of the state governments in the sector.
Oyetola, who expressed gratitude to the federal government for the recognition given to the state, said there was no doubt that mining was a major economic breakthrough to the nation’s socio-economic quagmire.
“I am quite excited to receive the minister here today. This shows that our effort to ensure proper mining is yielding positive results.
“We are committed to the diversification of the economy. That is why we are thinking out of the box to avoid being over-dependent on monthly allocation.
“As a government, we are working assiduously to develop the non-oil sector in which mining is key. That is why we are working on policy control to ensure proper regulation of mining activities.
“What we have at the moment are artisanal miners who are like scavengers, and to go into full exploration, we must collaborate with the federal government to secure an enabling environment to operate.
“And this can be achieved only if government removes the mining matters from the Exclusive List and move it to the Concurrent List as this would encourage full participation of states in mining.
“But looking at it as an entirely federal government affair, states might not be able to really explore the potential in the sector.
“We have been working hard to strengthen security, particularly in the mining area and this is being done through the south-west joint security task force.
And we are also working on a special security formation to ensure that our mining sites are properly secured.
“We are also registering the prospective miners as part of efforts to know those who are mining in the state. This initiative would help to ensure proper training of artisanal miners and proper control of the big players”, Oyetola said.