The Federal Government says it has so far registered 700 artisanal and small scale miners into licensed cooperatives in the country.

Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, who disclosed this during a press conference, in Abuja, noted that N5 billion fund has been registered in the Bank of Industry (BOI) in support of artisanal and small scale miners in the country.

He explained that a certified artisanal scale miner could access between N100 and N10 million of the fund, while small scale miners could access between N10 million and N100 million with a low interest of 5 percent.

According to Bwari, the increasing rate of informal miners disregarding safer mining methods has weakened the interests of many Nigerian investors looking into mining.

The minister stressed the need to register all informal miners as it would enhance their growth and development in a structured manner and spur productivity and job creation in the mining sector.

Said he, “Our goal is to ensure we register all the informal miners so that we can easily monitor their activities and also collect their royalties for their contribution to the Federal Government’s revenue.

“We have the potential in this sector in such a way that we can create jobs for our people because all the 774 local governments have mineral products that can be extracted.

“All we need to do is to identify those materials and engage those miners and I believe mining can take Nigeria where it’s supposed to be in the comity of nations and we need to do that responsibly,” Bwari said.

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