The various reforms instituted by the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office (MCO) have largely met the expectation of mining stakeholders, President, Nigerian Chambers of Mining, Alhaji Sani Shehu has disclosed.
The Chamber Chief made the statement just as the Director General of the Mining Cadastre Office, Engr Obadiah Simon Nkom disclosed that his office has expanded the ongoing reform to ease access to seamless mining operations.
Shehu who was also a former President of Association of Nigerian Miners, said most changes miners advocated for such as the creation of zonal offices have been implemented, a statement by Olayemi John-Mensah, Media/Strategy Officer, ACCI disclosed.
According to him, the operationalisation of the zonal offices has eased the burden of miners across the nation, even as he also highlighted digitisation of licencing process as another laudable steps stakeholders are happy with.
“We are happy with the ongoing reform and we appreciate the government’s response to our decades of advocacy. The Cadastre has grown to be a reliable partner for miners. The agency has shown it recognises her new mandate in the race of national shift to the non-oil sector”, he said.
The DG MCO, Engr Obadiah and the President of Mining Chamber spoke at the Mining Cadastre Day held at the ongoing 16th Abuja International Trade Fair organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
He said the reforms are meant to enhance transparency, accessibility and standardisation of the licencing process.
“We are innovating on various fronts. Aside from all previous landmark initiatives, a current project we are implementing is thematic mapping of areas restricted from mining activities for integration into the Nigerian Mining Cadastre digital database. We hope to have a glance at a map of areas where mining activities are not permitted for a number of reasons”, he said.
He also said this initiative will enable the licencing authority to know restricted areas on which mining licence cannot and should not be issued, adding that, “thematic mapping will serve both the authority and the investing public”.
He noted further that the MCO is also expanding the digitisation project, citing “the establishment of a standard system of e-recording and e-archiving of licencing records in line with new system upgrade.
“We are creating a standard system of e-filling of our records. This is to ensure much needed digitisation of operations which will ease the burden for all stakeholders and facilitate foreign direct investment into the world mineral sector in the country.”
The Vice President Mines ACCI, Dr. Johnson Anene called on MCO to open licencing to more members of the Chamber while saying that the process of obtaining licence has not been easy but since the coming on board of the new DG it has become easier.
The Director General ACCI, Victoria Akai who welcomed the MCO team, said the presence of the mining licencing office is a major addition to the list of many frontline Federal and private Agencies that have made participation at the Abuja Trade Fair a must on their annual calendar.
She urged the DG MCO to put this trade fair on the annual list of the “must participate” and “must attend” events in his Agency schedule.
“Earlier this year, the DG participated in our webinar Series focussing on the mining sector. The report of the webinar is today reproduced for further circulation and action by relevant agencies.
“Licensing is at the heart of the mining sector; the positive changes and reforms you have introduced accounts for the current boost in mining activities across the country. I am particularly elated by the digitalization of the licensing process. This will surely expand direct investment in the nation’s mining sector.”
The Director General, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba also said mining is intricate to our existence as human beings, adding that it supports our everyday life and that is why it is very important to give the sector all the attention it requires.
“From the early ages of human development up till now, it has always been people’s ingenuity in harnessing and transforming minerals deposits within their environment that sets them apart from others.”
Prof. Adesugba said despite the fact that Nigeria is endowed with a vast deposit of diverse mineral resources of high value ranging from industrial metals and precious stones of different kinds spread across the 36 states including the FCT, these minerals are not exploited maximally due to poor infrastructure for extraction, processing and transportation.
“At best, the industry is largely artisanal and output is very low in relation to the amount of deposits in the country.”
He added that at NEPZA Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority has placed priority on development of the mining industry through the Special Economic Zones scheme, while assuring that in no distant time the country will start reaping the benefits of the initiative of the Federal Government.