Government opens talks with Australia on safer mining
The Federal Government has opened discussion with the Australian government on safer mining practice in the country’s minerals sector.
The discussion is aimed at getting the support of the Australian government in the area of environmental safety and safety of miners, as government focuses attention on the mining sector in its economic diversification and job creation plan.
The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this during a meeting with the Australian Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary (African Branch), Matthew Neuhaus, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Fayemi said whereas the ministry was working with the Ministry of Environment on the environmental safety, it believed that partnering with Australia, with its hugely successful mining sector, would help the Nigerian government’s quest for safer mining practice.
“The government takes the issue of environmental safety seriously, because the health and well being of the people are of paramount interest to us.” he said.
The Minister stated that about 80 percent of mining activities in the country were being carried out by artisanal miners, hence the concern of the ministry on the need to organise them, ensure their safety and the safety of the environment.
“Owing to Australia’s long experience in mining, we want to share your success story”, the Minister added.
Other areas of assistance, according to the Dr Fayemi is the need to get the ministry’s laboratory- the National Geosciences Research Laboratories in Kaduna certificated.
The Minister decried a situation where mineral samples from the country had to be taken to laboratories outside the country for necessary tests and certification.
He said it was time the Kaduna laboratories got international certification so that it can live up to its billing as the foremost geoscience laboratory in the country.