Finnish mining experts supporting the development of responsible mining in Nigeria’s Taraba State

Finnish delegation in Taraba State

After two recent visits to Finland, having met with academia and mining sector companies among others, the Governor of Taraba State of Nigeria, H.E. Dr Agbu Kefas invited a Finnish mining delegation to Taraba State for an exploratory visit. The purpose of the trip was to map the solid minerals potential and to develop a plan on how to revive Taraba State’s mining sector in a responsible way. Key part of the Finnish delegation’s visit was to see how to build local capacity and create added value for the State and local communities.

The invitation came following the Governor’s executive order to close illegal mining activities in Taraba State last year. The illegal mining caused environmental damage, hazards for workers, and prompted to criminality. Additionally, there was little added value for the State or its citizens.

The choice to ask for a delegation from Finland was not random. Finland offers world-class expertise, technologies, and education that have helped mining actors worldwide to reduce the environmental footprint and to improve safety for staff.

Collaboration in capacity building and satellite monitoring

In April, Finnpartnership’s Global Gateway Project Lead Julian Blom joined the delegation of experts, led by Mining Finland, in their visit to Taraba State. The delegation was also accompanied by Abayomi Magbagbeola from Appleblossom Limited consulting, Uri Ngozichukwuka and her team from April Benjamin & Dawn Communication consulting, as well as the Permanent Secretary of Taraba State Ministry of Solid Minerals, who guided and coordinated the delegation during the whole week.
The delegation visited several mining sites, built relationships with local leaders, met with universities, state-, and federal ministries, the EU delegation, and participated in an audience with the State Governor. As a result of the week, a plan was proposed for the next steps. It ranges from capacity building at university level to satellite monitoring and pilot project development of selected mining sites.
The mining sector in Taraba State, and Nigeria broader, faces multi-dimensional challenges. The infrastructure is poor, access to energy is limited and security situation is complicated. Also, there are still regulatory obstacles between federal and state levels. In addition, the mining sector is underdeveloped due to the sector having been neglected for years which caused illegal mining. However, Nigeria is rich in minerals, and there is an increasing will to tackle the challenges. With things done in the right way, the potential of the mining sector could be enormous for the country. Taraba State has taken a leading role in developing the sector and it can serve as a positive example for the entire mining sector in Nigeria.

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