The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, has stressed that biometric data capture for registered artisanal and small-scale miners will lessen the rate of illegal mining and smuggling in the country.
This was disclosed in a statement from the ministry signed by the Head of Press Department, Funmi Imuetinyan.
The statement quoted the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, as saying that the ministry had prioritised artisanal and small-scale mining operators to combat the persistent illegalities in the subsector.
The statement read, “He also remarked that the Ministry of Mines and Steel under his leadership and that of Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, as a matter of Strategy, prioritized the ASM to stem incessant illegalities that have fraught the subsector in Nigeria by initiating and supporting biometric data capturing of all registered artisanal and small-scale miners across the country under the formalization and mainstreaming of ASM operators.
“He revealed the creation of an ecosystem will minimize the high rate of illegal mining and smuggling, increase Government’s revenue from the resource, create jobs, and improve environmental and social stewardship.”
The minister also disclosed that creating a gemstone market will ensure the diversification of the national economic base of Nigeria.
The minister disclosed this at the commissioning of the Ultramodern International Gemstone Market Ojoo, Akinyele Local Government Area Ibadan, Oyo State on Thursday
Adegbite also said that the ministry designed six strategic ASM Cluster Projects in the six geopolitical zones as a means to harness the potentials of the over three million Artisanal and Small Scale Mining operators in the country, and the creation of an international Gemstone Market in Ibadan for the Southwest Zone is one of such projects.
He was quoted as saying, “The landmark projects are to create an enabling environment to support the Mining Industry through the formalization of the ASM Sub-sector as a major driver of the key growth parameters to engender the development of the Mining Sector since over 90% of the Mining activities in the country could safely be said to be ASM driven.”