The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Honourable Abubakar Bawa Bwari has challenged the Committee on State Mineral Resources and Environmental Management (MIREMCO) to proffer concrete solutions to environmental issues in mining as government is concerned about the environmental safety of citizens living in the mining communities and is desirous of reducing the health hazards associated with the degradation of their environment due to mining activities.

The Minister stated this in his address at the Retreat on Mining Governance for Chairmen of Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO), organized by the Ministry and held at Barcelona Hotel, Abuja, adding that he is optimistic that issues raised on Environmental Management in Mining at the recently concluded Conference on Nigerian Mining Week will be further examined. The event, he said, will sensitize them in the areas of legal and regulatory frameworks that are essential for proper functioning in the sector and for the realization of the mandate of the committee.

Bawa Bwari, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Barrister Georgina Ekeoma Ehuriah, MON, noted that Federal Government has committed to committee’s smooth operations of solving environmental issues in mining by providing mobilization fund of N5Million to each of the Twenty-six (26) States with reactivated and operational MIREMCO, and issuing Hilux Pick-Up Vehicles to the first ten of the 26 States that reactivated their Committees. It also distributed operational guidelines to all the active MIREMCO States as a follow-up to proper harmonization of the activities of MIREMCO in all the States of the Federation and FCT.

He commended them for their immense contributions in resolving conflicts between the Mineral Title Holders and their host communities, as well as compensation and effective implementation of community Development agreement (CDAs), which has impacted mineral production and revenue generation. He, therefore, urged them to sustain development in the sector by reviewing and reassessing some of the practices and regulations guiding Mining; and initiating reforms in line with the Roadmap for the sector.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in her welcome address expressed joy that the State Mineral Resources and environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO), has spread across 30 States of the Federation and FCT with great level of commitment in its activities.

She, among other things, said the Retreat is designed to create an effective forum through which the Chairmen of MIREMCO can interact and be inducted on the mandate of the Ministry to enable them contribute their quota to the overall goals of sustainable diversification agenda of the present administration; and to enlighten the Chairmen on Mining Governance. It is also expected to bring about effective and inclusive participation of States and Local Governments in the promotion of mineral resources development with an increase in revenue generation and job creation.

The Chairman of MIREMCO, Edo State, Mr Daniel Inne, on behalf of representatives of MIREMCO, assured that members will live up to expectation in the discharge of their duties and promoting the ministry.

In his closing remarks, the Director, Mines Environmental Compliance Department, Engineer Sallim Salaam, FIMC, said the retreat is the first being organized to sensitize the stakeholders on re-positioning the sector’s roadmap. He wished the participants successful deliberations and also expressed gratitude to the management of the ministry for their contributions in making the event a success.

The event featured interactive sessions and paper presentation by Director General Mining Cadastre Office, Engr. Amate, FNMGS, who talked on Mineral Title Administration and Consents in Mining; Engr. Sallim A. Salaam, FIMC on Implementation of Best Practices in Environmental Management in the Nigerian Mining Sector; Director, Mines Inspectorate Department, Mr. Wuyep presentation was premised on the role of MIREMCO in tackling security Challenges in Mining; while Director Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, Mr. Patrick Ojeka handled the Role of MIREMCO in Tackling Security Challenges in Mining (ASM). Participants from Kogi, Oyo, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Edo, Kaduna, Ondo, Bauchi, Imo, Kano, Delta, Benue, Plateau, Jigawa and Kwara attended the well graced occasion.