The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), says it contributed N7.8 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021.
Mr Patrick Ojeka, the Director, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) Department, MMSD made this known on Monday in Abuja.
Ojeka said the N7.8 billion was realised by the ministry through its agencies and departments.
According to him, Mining Cadastra Office (MCO), an agencies under the ministry contributed substantially to this amount.
MCO, at a news conference recently, revealed that the agency made N4 2 billion as revenue in 2021.
MCO is an autonomous agency of government saddled with the responsibility of managing and administering mineral titles.
Ojeka said that the ministry’s contribution to the GDP in 2021 was unprecedented compared to its past contribution.
“The ministry in its effort to put the sector in its rightful place came up with a Road Map, inaugurated by the former minister and incumbent Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
“The Road Map made the sector attractive to investors and has placed the sector on the path of growth and development.
“Fayemi also accessed N30 billion for the ministry, it was a great achievement, the fund helped to upscale the performance of the sector to higher level,” he said.
The director said that the current ministers had also done well since they assumed the ministry, adding that the ministry had never contributed the above amount to the GDP in the past.
According to him, the ministry will soon commence biometric exercise across the country for more 2000 artisanal miners that registered into cooperatives.
He said the essence of the biometric was to know their locations and monitor their operations.
” The biometric will help to locate and apprehend artisanal miner that commit offence; it will help in locating where they are conducting mining operations.
” Currently, the ministry have formalised more than 2000 artisanal miners that registered into different cooperatives, we want to go beyond formalisation, we want to conduct biometric for them to manage and ensure they don’t result in criminality.
“We have procured biometric equipment that will soon be deployed to the field for the exercise and we will issue them Identity Cards.
“We noticed that some artisanal miners have been formalised several times due to their movement from one field to another but the biometric will henceforth avoid double formalisation.
“Federal Government do not call artisanal miners “illegal miners”, they are miners that are scratching the surface of the land to earn their living, we call them artisanal miners.
“As far as they have been formalised into cooperatives, they can access small scale mining licence from the MCO to conduct full mining operation,” he said.
He said that agreement had been reached with artisanal miners operating on tenement (land) that belong to mining investors to sell minerals mined on the tenement to the investors.