The Federal Government has re-emphasised the need for mining companies operating in different communities in the country to keep to the terms made in the signed community development agreement (CDA), to ensure peaceful coexistence with their host communities.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, gave this charge over the weekend at the opening ceremony of Tunde Ramos Coal Mines and commissioning of mining equipment by Mosra Enerji in Odele, Ankpa local government area of Kogi State.
Adegbite said government takes seriously the relationship between mining companies and their host community serious.
Explaining part of the content of the CDA, the minister said it is an agreement with the host community in which a set of projects is agreed upon and everyone is bound by it for 5 years.
He called on mining companies to be more responsive to their host communities for peaceful coexistence. The minister added that apart from projects contained in the CDA, the community should prosper as the mining companies do.
Adegbite appreciated the host communities for the cooperation accorded to Mosra Enerji so far and underlined the fact that mining cannot take place without peace and communities’ acquiescence.
He noted that the mining sector has learnt a lot of lessons from the mistakes of the oil and gas sub-sector, where the host communities are neglected. He advised Mosra Enerji to keep on cooperating and working with its host communities.
“It is important to cooperate with them so that the community prospers as the mining companies prosper and that is the reason for the CDA,” he added.
The minister noted that so many communities are endowed with one or more minerals, but need mining companies or investors to bring out the minerals and turn them into wealth. Beyond adherence to CDA, Adegbite opined that the presence of the mining companies would further expose the communities positively.
“There is what is called ‘know your source’. Whatever coming out of here would be stamped as coming from Ankpa. The world knows this and puts your communities on the world map. That, in itself, is a recognition – besides the number of people from your communities who will be employed and engaged in businesses,” he said.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the managing director, Mosra Enerji, Mr. Olukayode Ramos, called the event “a remarkable milestone” for his organisation in its bid to contribute effectively to the Federal Government’s ‘coal-to-power’ programme.
Ramos disclosed that, at full operation, the coal mine would create over 10,000 direct employment and 30,000 indirect employments. Also, he pledged his company’s commitment to maintaining the best practices in responsible mining.
“We believe that the key to bringing the Nigerian economy into the 21st Century level is the diversification of the economy through the development of a sustainable, responsible and law-abiding mining industry,” he further explained.
He said Mosra Enerji is committed to service and partnership with its host communities through open, inclusive and continuing dialogue. He assured that the company would not only ensure adherence to the CDA but will surpass the promises made therein, including [that for] social infrastructure.
Ramos appealed to the communities to keep being understanding and cooperative, as he revealed that the company plans to bring massive development to the host communities in Ankpa and Omala local government areas with the proposed construction of a coal-fired power plant.
He said all hands must be on deck to ensure that Nigeria regains her status as an exporter of coal and increase the mining sector’s contribution to the national GDP and foreign exchange reserves.
A statement by the ministry’s director of press signed by Idowu Jokpeyibo, said the Ankpa local government chairman, Ibrahim Abagwu, in his closing remarks, assured the mining companies operating in the area of adequate security and appealed to them to fulfil the promises made in the CDA signed with their host communities.