From OsaigbovoIguobaro, Benin
A workshop for the training for Artisans along with Small scale Miners (ASMs) in the exploration of solid minerals in commercial quantity has opened in Edo state to encourage their effective involvement.
The week-long workshop which will among others encourage young miners in the Country is being undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Engr. Charles Uka, who represented the Director, Artisanal and small scale mining department of the ministry, said the workshop was to evaluate the operations and performance of mining cooperatives, quarrying associations and small scale mining companies in the South –South zone.
Uka said that “this workshop is a follow-up to the grants that were given to the ASMs in 2010 to evaluate how much they have fared since then and to know some of the challenges they may have being faced with.’’
He said that because the federal government was ready and prepared to follow global best practices, “we believe that this workshop which is the last for the year and for the zone, will provide the environment for the ASMs relief their experiences on the field and to see how the ministry can greatly assist them.
“We are going to also distribute some inputs to the participants at the end of the workshop to assist their operational outputs,’’ he said.
At an interactive session, the lecturer, Engr. Garba Bida, said there were abundance of solid mineral deposit in all states of the
federation, yet, unholy community demands for ownership rights from prospective mining companies.
Bida, a Geologist, said the result of the operations of the mining sector would have been higher than what was being achieved “if communities are softer with their demands on mining companies.
“We also advice government to come out with a legislature that will encourage miners, especially ASMs to remain and be attracted into the sector,’’ he said.
Some of the participants, who commended the ministry for the workshop, however, decried the huge double taxation policy of governments.
They therefore appealed to the ministry to on their behalf, intervene and see how the issue of double taxation could be addressed.