Bill for an Act to establish Solid Minerals Areas Development Commission passes Second Reading in Senate

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By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Bill for an Act to establish the Solid Minerals Areas Development Commission (SMDC) in Nigeria which will

address environmental devastation scaled second reading at the Senate on Tuesday

The bill seeks to provide for the accelerated development of the Nigerian solid minerals sector, in a bid to diversify the Nigerian and reduce the over dependence on the dwindling oil revenues.

Recall that the bill which was read for the first in the Senate on Wednesday, 5th May, 2021 was sponsored by Yakubu Oseni (Kogi Central).

Leading debate on the bill, Senator Oseni observed that the country is richly endowed with a variety of solid minerals of various categories ranging from precious metals to various precious stones and industrial minerals.

He emphasised that the sector offers “a viable alternative to petroleum for earnings”.

Specifically, the lawmaker further revealed that “globally, the mining industry has been a close rival to the petroleum industry, while Nigeria only earns a paltry $89 million per annum from it.

“The commercial value of Nigeria’s solid minerals has been estimated to run into hundreds of billions of dollars”.

Justifying the bill, Senator Oseni argued that the bill when passed into law will provide template for the formulation of policies and guidelines for the development of the mineral producing areas.

He continued: “Conception, planning and implementation in accordance with set rules and regulations, of projects and programmes for sustainable development of the minerals producing areas in the field of transportation including roads, health, employment, industrialization, agriculture among others”.

He said according the United Nations Environmental (UNEP), small-scale gold processing operations in developing countries employ one million children, stressing that children, who are susceptible to the impacts of heavy metals, tend to have higher exposures and generally account for majority of deaths and diseases associated with mass poisoning incidents from these operations.

However, Senate referred the bill to its committee on solid minerals to back in four weeks.