Communique Issued at the End of A One-Day Policy Dialogue on Mining Security and the Challenges Of Sustainable Mining in Taraba State, Held 15th March 2018, At Star Exclusive Hotels Jalingo, Taraba State.
A one-day policy dialogue was convened by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) with the support of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). The dialogue which was an off shoot of the Strengthening Civic Engagement and Advocacy for Effective Natural Resource Governance in Nigeria project, was titled “Mining Security and the Challenges of Sustainable Mining in Taraba State”. The objective of the dialogue was primarily to provide a platform for interactions among citizens to identify and proffer solution to the challenges of insecurity and sustainable mining in Taraba State. Participants at the dialogue were drawn from government institutions including Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Taraba State, academia, civil society organizations, artisanal and small-scale miners, traditional rulers, women groups, mining companies and the special task force on mining.
The following observations were made at the dialogue:
a)A third of the world’s mineral reserves are found in Africa – making the continent a key player in the global mining sector.
b)Nigeria is blessed with large deposits of 44 different viable minerals spread across the country.
c)Nigeria has, among others, 639 million metric tonnes proven reserves of coal but production is only at 0.04 million metric tonnes; has three billion metric tonnes proven reserves of iron ore but production is only 0.07 million metric tonnes; has five million metric tonnes proven reserves of lead/zinc but production is at 0.6 million metric tonnes; has one million metric ounces proven reserves of gold but production is 0.14 million ounces; and has 568 million metric tonnes proven reserves of limestone, but produces only at 11 million metric tonnes.
a)Nigeria operates as a single mining jurisdiction governed by the national constitution, which makes mining governance an exclusive preserve of the federal government.
b)Over the years, the solid mineral sector was left in the hands of informal group of untrained and ill-equipped artisans who carried out their activities, unregulated in several communities, thereby making negligible contributions to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.
c)The responsibility of licensing and regulatory operations by the federal government has led to hostility to private mining operations by states, Taraba State inclusive.
d)The non-constitution of the Mineral Resource and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) as required by the Mineral and Mining Act, 2007 in Taraba State has made governance of the sector challenging.
e)Mining in Taraba State is dominated by artisanal and small-scale miners who rely heavily on manual labour using simple implements and methods.
f)Though the responsibility of ensuring law and order, protection of lives and properties fall within the domain of the security agencies, the activities of security agencies in mining sites have increasingly exacerbated the menace of insecurity in the mines.
g)Taraba State from the Mayo Sina Mining site alone in Nguroje Community of Sardauna Local Government Area, lose over N100million daily to illegal mining.
h)Participant at the dialogue commended the Federal Government for setting up a sub technical committee. (Min. of solid minerals, DSS, Civil defence, custom, EFCC, and the police) that will help to address the challenge of insecurity in the mines.
i)Participants commended the Federal Government for the conduct of the ongoing geological survey where it has covered over 70 percent of the country with the aim of bringing the challenge of lack of geological data to an end.
j)Large quantities of sapphire gemstones have been exploited through illegal mining operations from Sardauna, Takum and Karim Lamido LGAs in the State. The Blue sapphire gemstone from Mambilla Plateau has been traded in different parts of the world including Thailand and Sri Lanka over the years at very high prices.
k)The mining sector in Taraba state has been characterized over the years by failed policies, underinvestment, neglect and stagnation. The sector was practically collapsing because of dominance of artisanal, small scale and illegal miners whose activities made very little, if any, impact on the growth of the State.
After the dialogue, the following recommendations and resolutions were made:
Government and Security:
a)There should me more synergy amongst stakeholders operating in the mining sector in the state.
b)Taraba State government should as a matter of urgency inaugurate Mineral Resource and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO).
c)The Federal Government should in conjunction with the Taraba State government carry out Geophysical survey to enable investors have idea of the location and type of minerals found in different parts of the State.
d)The government should apart from the salary paid to security personnel at mining locations, work out adequate incentives and give proper logistics support to security personnel manning the mines.
e)The government should consider imposing higher levies/taxes to discourage export of minerals from the country.
f)The government should ensure that security personnel carry out their duty with finesse and professionalism with clear observance of the rules of engagement.
g)The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development should review and simplify the conditionalities attached as precondition for accessing the N5billion loan for the development of small scale and artisanal mining in the country to ease access by miners.
CSO and Media
a)Civil Society Organization in the State should ensure more systemic way of sharing information amongst stakeholders.
b)Research journalist should visit sites before making publications to avoid biased reporting.
c)Civil society organizations in the State should regularly ensure the convocation of multi-stakeholder interaction to among other things create awareness and sensitize other stakeholders about issues arising in the sector.
d)CSOs working in the sector should programme to build the capacity of media professionals to achieve professional and balance reporting.
Mining companies and communities
a)Mining companies should include as part of their mining activity, the building of skills, constructing infrastructure, providing services, and hiring and procuring locally.
b)Mining companies should go beyond compliance on transparency by ensuring disclosures and appropriate payment of taxes and levies.
c)Mining companies should create and demonstrate value to communities by ensuring social cohesion even in the way and manner they carry out their operations and engage with communities.
d)Mining host communities’ executives should sign consent letter only when the content has been read and agreed upon by the community members
Stakeholders at the dialogue commended the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for putting together the dialogue and committed to working together to ensure that issues of mining security are taken seriously.
1.Hajia Adama Audu – Gashaka Community
2.Mr. Mohammed Zanna Bakari – Gembu Community
3.Engr. Andekembe Isaac – Nigerian Miners Association, Taraba State chapter.
4.Mr. Isa B. Audu – Kurmi Local Government Miners Association, Taraba State.
5.Mr. Omaojor Ogedoh – African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD)