The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, has stated that the consent of host communities for mining activities is mandatory before the issuance of licenses to miners.

Alake disclosed this shortly after inaugurating the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) of Benue State, when the state government’s delegation led by Deputy Governor, Samuel Ode, visited him at his office in Abuja.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, on Friday in Abuja, he was reported saying that states and host communities are actively involved in decision making regarding mining within their purview.

He said that states were not neglected in critical decisions regarding minerals in their areas, saying that they appoint most members and chairmen of MIREMCO.

He described MIREMCO`s role as crucial in the realisation of government`s resolve to develop the solid minerals sector.

News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), reports that MIREMCO was established by the 2007 Mining Act, to oversee mining operations, supervise the environmental aspects of mines and tackle illegal mining and trafficking of minerals across the states of the Federation.

“We see the inauguration of MIREMCO as a major milestone in our bid to exploit the solid minerals sector.

“It is the committee that will regulate mining activities within Benue, and for us, it is a great leap towards harnessing our mineral resources for the benefit of the people“, he said.

He described Benue as a model to other states, evident in its active involvement in the development of the mining sector in collaboration with the federal government.

According to him, the state`s approach is in conformity with the nation’s statutes on mining, which put the sector in the exclusive legislative list.

“There is no single state in this country without minerals of high grade and of viable volume. I have had cause to give out some approvals on applications for mining license, quarrying, and relevant ventures from Benue state.

“Benue is one of the very well-endowed states in this country. We are ready to cooperate with you to translate your vision into reality not just for the benefit of Benue but for the benefit of all Nigerians, “ he said.

Speaking, Ode stated that the reforms initiated by the Minister in the solid mineral sector have reinforced the determination to revive the mining sector in Benue, which has about 34 critical minerals.

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