No fewer than 12 West African countries will assemble in Nigeria to deliberate on ways to develop the mining sector in the region, Alhaji Sani Shehu, President, Miners Association of Nigeria, has said.
Shehu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that the countries would meet on July 5 to discuss their progress, challenges in the sector and areas that ECOWAS could assist them.
The association is organising General meeting of ECOWAS Federation of Chambers of Mines (EFEDCOM), he said.
EFEDCOM was formed by ECOWAS to advocate for effective policies to promote sustainable and responsible mining sub-region.
The meetings of EFEDCOM are rotational; the 2016 version took place in Ghana and the 2017 edition would be hosted by the Miners Association of Nigeria.
According to him, the programme which is first of its kind in Nigeria, will be attended by Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Niger, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea among others.
He noted that mining countries in West Africa faced similar problems such as illegal mining from both local and foreign miners, adding that the issue would be deliberated upon holistically during the programme.
He said the programme would be of great benefit to Nigeria’s economy, as it would open up market opportunities to showcase available minerals in the country and areas that ECOWAS could assist the sector.
According to him, Nigeria is still backward among mining nations, adding that Nigeria is not on the World Mining Map due to its low performance in the sector.
“The programme will showcase Nigeria as a potential country that is capable of being in the World mining map, adding that most of the countries that will attend the programme are already in the map.
” There is no concrete achievement to show or point at in the last two years that has happened in the sector, except the Mining Road map that was produced and launched last year.”
He said that the association had been making efforts to promote Nigeria mining to compete with successful African and international mining countries.