Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences (NIMG), Prof. Suleiman Hassan, on Monday attributed the low revenue from the mining sector to use of obsolete equipment by artisanal miners operating in the industry.
Hassan stated that this has prevented the Federal Government from getting the revenue that is expected from the mining sector.
He stated this on the sidelines of an ongoing seven – day training on human capital development for employees of NIMG in conjunction with Geocardinal Engineering Services Limited in Keffi, Nasarawa state.
Hassan said the government had started to train artisanal miners in order to grow its revenue from the sector.
According to the DG, artisanal miners run widespread operations in the sector but their returns to the government have been minimal.
On whether the government was making the required revenue from the industry considering the widespread operations of artisanal miners, Hassan said: “The government is not be making enough revenue now because the equipment they (artisanal miners) use are not the ones that can give us the best in mining activities.
“This is because after you mine the resources, you still have to put value to the minerals and to do this you need to use some of the sophisticated equipment in the sector.
“So until our miners have access to some of the equipment that will enable them to take the minerals from the earth, process and put value to them and get quality price in the market, the revenue may not come as required.
“So right now the government may not be getting as much as is expected because the minerals are not sold in their final qualities that should bring in more money.
“This is why the ministry is making frantic effort to ensure that some of these miners are equipped with latest equipment to transform their raw materials into finished goods.”
Hassan stated that it was not right to call artisanal miners illegal miners because the government knows most of them and have their records
He said: “We don’t call them illegal miners rather they are called artisanal miners because the government is aware that these people are at most of the mining sites.
“However, because of the crude method they use to get some of these mineral resources, people call them illegal miners. But we call them artisanal miners.
“My ministry is trying as much as possible to train them and expose them to the equipment that will make them move away from the crude method of mining that exposes them to dangers posed by such activities.”
Hassan further stated their activities were coordinated by the government, adding these activities were tailored in such a way that the miners had set up a body and that most of the known mining sites that they mine from were on the government’s records.