…as Enugu Gov urges FG to revoke licenses of unserious miners

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi says the Federal Government is ready to collaborate with State governments and critical stakeholders to revive the mining sector in the country.

The Minister disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, during a tour of mining locations in the state on Monday.

Dr Fayemi, accompanied by the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Abubakar Bawa Bwari, said they were in the State to inspect abandoned and unutilised coal mines with a view to reviving them.

“There are about 13 coal mines in Enugu State, some have been privatised while others are abandoned and vandalised. The Federal Government is concerned about the risk and safety of these abandoned coal mines and has embarked on environmental audit of the mines to see how they can be made attractive to investors”, The Minister said.

He solicited the support and cooperation of Enugu State government in bringing back the past glory of coal mining in the country. He said the Federal Government is prioritising coal for power generation and investors are being encouraged to invest in coal plant.

Governor Ugwuanyi noted that his state is richly endowed with solid minerals but had benefitted little or nothing from its mineral endowments due to illegal mining and non utilisation of mining licenses held by some operators he described as “ghost miners”. He stated that many are in possession of mining licences but have not utilised them there by denying the state of the benefits accruable from the sector.

The Governor urged the Federal Government to apply the “use it or lose it” provision in the Mining Act 2007 and revoke all unutilised licences issued to operators in the state in order  to enable serious mining operators acquire mining licences and use them for the benefit of the state.

Governor Ugwuanyi commended the Minister for inspecting the abandoned coal mines in the state and for holding a stakeholders meeting to interact on how to move the mining sector forward.