Solomon M. Hassan, local miner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bakosolos Miner Nigeria Limited, decries to the Nigerian government to establish a buying centre for solid minerals in Kaduna State.
He made this known to newsmen in Abuja during an exclusive interview at Nigeria Mining Week. The Nigeria Mining Week, which took place again in Abuja from 16 – 19 October 2017, in partnership with PWC, the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) and event organiser Spintelligent. The event attracted government officials, serious investors, mining operators, finance houses as well as technology solution providers who are seeking a new market and new clients for mineral exploration and extraction in Nigeria.
According to Mr. Solomon, Kaduna State have enormous minerals such as Amatol, Quasi, Tourmaline, Sapphire, Emerald, Nickel amongst others which can be found in Sanga, Sagindi, Kafanchan local government.
He adds: “Kaduna State doesn’t have a buying centre owned by the Nigerian Government and this is a major challenge for local miners in the state. A buying centre is where the mining products can be assembled and sold by both the state and Federal Government. Currently, there is no fixed price for the products, artisan miners usually sell the products at the rate of Two Hundred Naira per gram but if Government can establish a buying centre, they will control the price of the products and it will be generating more revenue for the economy of Nigeria”
Speaking further, he said the buying centre will mitigate issues on fraud because whenever a foreign clients and investors have interest on the products, they should be taken directly to where they will see the products, which is the buying centre.
He says “Transportation is another challenge, because the products are located in the desert areas where before you can reach there, it can take up to two days and sometimes three days. Most local miners charter motorcycles at the rate of Seven Thousand Naira, but still, there are some areas you will reach, you have to drop the motorcycle and go with foot which takes another two days and sometimes one day”.
Mr. Solomon also complained that some of the loans Government issues are given to those who aren’t miners. He says “ask them the stone that they are mining, can they bring it in large quantities?
According to Mr. Solomon, Bakosolos has been in the mining business for over 25 years and a member of the Artisan Miners Association of Nigeria. Artisan Miners is under the Miners Association of Nigeria. He says: “The State branch of Artisan Miners Association is located in
Jos and they have also built a buying centre. They also have a mining technology known as ‘Cut and Polish Machine’ which has also created jobs for the people in the state”.
He further explained that the local miners from Katangora, Sokoto, Zamfara and other location take their products to Jos because it is where the buying centre is established, unfortunately, it is a state project. He says: “If the buying centre is establsihed in the
Federal level, the local miners instead of going to Jos, they will take their products to the Federal Government and whosoever that is interested on the products will be able to pick it there”
“The Tar Sand we get in Calabar which is used for making glass, where we saw the products is in Jos but the material is extracted from Calabar and they are telling us that Jos have a Tar Sand.” This is according to Mr. Solomon M. Hassan.
Issue of illegal mining
Mr. Solomon said the stones have been in the sites for over 25 years without any mining operations and in order to resolve the issues, Government needs to get involved fully by educating the local miners, create an enabling environment for them by building hospitals and roads that leads to the mining location.
“People call it illegal, most of us aren’t educated and we don’t even know the word ‘illegal’ because these artisan miners are villagers from our fore father’s businesses. It is when Government establishes a school for us which will give us the right orientation, we will now start to understand how best we can do mining in our environment”. He added
He said the Nigerian Mining Week have been a blessing to him as it has given him the opportunity to network and also engage with media representatives on the challenges the local miners are facing in Kaduna State. He expands: “I strongly believe that next edition will be more proactive”