The Federal Government has organised a training workshop for officers of the Special Mines Surveillance Task Force on Illegal Mining in Jos, Plateau State.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa Bwari, while declaring open the one-week workshop, enjoined the task force members to be committed to their assignment, which focuses on curbing illegal mining activities across the country.
The Minister of State speaking through his representative, the Acting Director -General of NMDC, Engr. E. Mbaya said the training was aimed at educating and enlightening participants on what constitute illegal mining and it is expected that the knowledge and skills acquired will assist the participants to effectively monitor and prevent illegal mining in the country.
He said the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is committed to providing necessary support for the Task Force to achieve its mandate.
The Representative of the Permanent Secretary and Director, Mines Inspectorate, Engr. Karnap Wuyep in his welcome address stated that the Special Task Force was set up in 2012 to replace the defunct Mines Police.
A statement quoted Wuyep as saing that the Task Force was established to work with the Ministry at the Federal, State and Local governments to enforce, monitor and checkmate illegal mining. “Because of the occurrence of diverse minerals at different locations across the country, we are faced with a lot of challenges resulting from illegal mining and there is need to collaborate with major stake holders in the sector to assist the Ministry in preventing the occurrence of illegal mining under the leadership of Mines officers at the State level” he added.
He encouraged participants to acquaint themselves with the mode of operations and commodity surveillance that is the minerals, saying, that the workshop comprises of lectures, practical, field trip and a visit to the museum.
A keynote address was presented by Professor Charles Okunjemi, who highlighted the different types of minerals and how to identify them, e- tech and conflict minerals, different mineral belts, how to measure and calibrate minerals, among others.
Another paper was presented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Olapade Davies, who gave an over view of the Ministry. He noted that solid minerals are on the exclusive list of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.
He said though Nigeria has more than 44 minerals in commercial quantity, the Federal government has identified seven priority minerals such as coal, lead and Zinc, iron ore, gold, bitumen and barite. He also stated that the mining roadmap is targeting 3% contribution to the GDP in the next few years and 10% in the future.