Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule has called for synergy with the Ministry of Solid Minerals while issuing mining licenses to prospective investors across the state.
Engineer Sule made the call when he hosted a delegation from Multiverse Mining and Exploration Plc who were at the Government Hose on a courtesy call on Tuesday.
The governor noted that it has become necessary to involve the state government on the matter of issuing mining licenses in order to avoid conflict of interests.
Engineer Sule called for a tripartite arrangement so that when the ministry is issuing out licenses to investors, the state government should be involved.
He expressed concern that Nasarawa, which is the home of solid minerals, happens to be predominantly agricultural and there is every tendency to have conflicts of interest if care is not taken while issuing mining licenses.
The governor disclosed that already, the state is witnessing two such conflicts, where the solid minerals ministry issued licences to mining investors on the same area government has given license for agricultural activities.
“The same area we have, the Solid Minerals Ministry have given license to people to carry out activities of solid minerals.
“The surface land belongs to the state, we have given it for farming, the underground belongs to the Federal Government and has given it out to somebody for mining,” Engineer Sule pointed out.
He said he was happy that Multiverse Mining company is facing the same challenge, which calls for a synergy between the solid minerals ministry and the state government.
“When you were making your presentation, I was smiling because I was hoping that, at least if the Ministry of Solid Minerals, were here, they can now understand some of the concerns that I have been mentioning.
“Today, you are having a conflict with another license owner in the same area. Believe me tomorrow you may even have worse. The reason being that we are interested in agriculture in this state, this is a state that is purely more agrarian than anything else,” he stated.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Mr Ayedun Fasina, Managing Director of the mining company and leader of the delegation, said they were at the Government House to seek the support from the state government towards the protection of there investments running into over $100m in the state.
Fasina specifically sought the support of the Nasarawa State government in resolving a challenge the company is currently facing in its area of operation, in Awe Local Government Area, where another owner of a license operates within the company’s license.
“The owner of the license is not complying with the law, operating within our license, even carrying out blasting operation beside a tunnel that cost us about five million dollars each,” the managing director said.
Fasina disclosed that they have already reported the matter to the Federal Government, stressing that all they desire, is peaceful operation.
He, therefore, called on Engineer Sule to look into the matter by setting up a committee to resolve the conflict.
“We are asking that for peaceful operation, for peaceful investment, because one of the reasons why we come here is for Your Excellency to assure the investors of their investment protection within the state,” Fasina stated.