Jos – The Plateau Government says it is liaising with the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals to mobilise crude miners to form cooperatives so as to secure licences and obtain loans.
“The unlicenced miners use crude devices that have proved very dangerous to their lives. They get desperate to survive and often get buried in mining holes.
“We want to help them to form cooperatives to enable them obtain loans to secure the licences and procure equipment for modern mining,” Mr Abdullahi Abbas, the Commissioner for Environment and Minerals Development, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Jos.
Abbas said that the objective was to bring the unlicenced miners together to reap the benefits of massive and decent mining.
“The activity has vast potentialities; but illegal miners can only gain if they formed strong bodies that would enable them access the opportunities,” he said.
While noting the high financial cost of obtaining a mining licence, he said that the price would be felt less if shared among members of the cooperative.
“We have been meeting with leaders of the unlicensed miners association; we are organising them into groups of 45 to 50 persons, to form a cooperative societies.
“In that union, they can easily obtain loans which will enhance their mining activities because real mining is capital intensive, but very rewarding,” he said.
The commissioner said that the ministry had already solicited the support of traditional rulers to sensitise youths on the benefits of forming cooperative societies to obtain licence and loans for legal mining.
“Mining is a legal business; whoever is interested should approach the appropriate authorities for licence instead of doing it illegally which could be dangerous and also constitute environmental hazards,” he said.