By Tajudeen Balogun
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the Federal Government (FG) to empower the solid minerals and mining sector through the deployment of Geographic Information System (GIS), automation of applying for and processing mining licenses, leases and permits through a one-stop-shop platform.
The House call is a response to the FG’s plan, following the advice of security chiefs to ban the use of motorbikes as a means of mobility, in order to quell the wave of bloody attacks by bandits who use mining as a shield, as well as using it to terrorize innocent people.
LCCI, in a press statement signed by Dr. Chinyere Alomna, its Director General (DG), also called on the government to ensure that the Integrated and Interactive Solid Minerals Automation Portal (IAISMP) is truly a “ essential portal for real time”. industry information.
“We are also expected to finalize the plan to build a national electronic geodata archive management system which will be called the Nigerian Geodata Center of the Nigerian Geological Surveys Agency (NGSA). All of these would make it easier for investors around the world to access mining information.
“We cannot afford to jeopardize the fortunes of mining in Nigeria with a blanket ban on mining activities when we should be able to isolate illegal miners and demobilize criminals from mine sites.
“We urge the government to reconsider ways to demobilize criminal activity from mining sites and create a safe environment where mining can thrive,” the DG stressed.
Furthermore, Dr. Alomna noted that the announcement further validated the warning from foreign and local investors that it is not safe for them to invest in the Nigerian mining sector.
She lamented that existing local investors who secured loans to finance their mining projects across Nigeria now run the risk of losing their multi-year investments, noting that the proposed decision has further damaged the FG’s diversification plans to continue. a non-oil export-based economy.
Dr. Alomna referred to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) economic reports between 2015 and 2020; which puts the total value of solid mineral exports during this period at $1.75 billion.
She argued that duly licensed mining companies should be clearly differentiated and distanced from the activities of bandits and terrorists on which the National Security Council based its proposal.
“We must enforce all necessary laws and policies to ensure the safety of local and foreign investments in the solid minerals sector and ensure that investors get the best returns on their investments,” the DG reiterated.
She noted in the statement that Nigeria’s mining industry employs several thousand people in Nigeria’s formal and informal economy.
“Specifically, the artisanal and small-scale mining ecosystem represents at least 90% of mining sector activities; from granite quarrying, limestone quarrying to base metal mining, limestone quarrying for cement production, sand quarrying, non-metallic industrial inputs for industry from paint and pharmaceuticals, to the extraction of precious metals such as gold; as well as gemstone mining,” Alomna said.