Mining: FG assures miners full access to N5bn intervention fund

THE Federal Government, on Thursday, reassured miners across Nigeria of full access to the N5 billion Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) intervention fund from the Bank of Industry (BoI).

Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, gave this assurance while receiving a group of miners, consist of Small Scale and Artisanal Miners, Women in Mining, Gold Dealers Association of Nigeria, as well as Miners for Buhari and Osinbajo and Quarry Association of Nigeria in his office in Abuja.

Mr Adegbite lamented that the funds, which have been around for a while were just accumulating interest, which was not what it was meant for, further assured them of utmost support with a view to guiding against outsiders exploiting artisanal miners who lack little or no idea of mineral values.

According to him, “If people are busy and have more things to do, I think the country would be more peaceful. For the calibre of people here, we need to carry those lower in the scale along, so that they can get the benefit of their labour.

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“What these people do is come to exploit our people. They tour all miners to find small materials and they take it off them and give them something to go and have lunch. They take from them and sell at the international market after buying at an unreasonable price.

“These people took women, not so old people and when they find something small, some big people would come and take it off their hands. As an association, I want you to do that so that people begin to realise their sweat. This would promote the sector that other people would be attracted to. This would give this sector the respect it deserves,” the minister stated.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Mr Uchechukwu Ogah also urged miners to take their proper and rightful place to prove that mining has a place in Nigeria.

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