Exclusive interview with Alhaji Sani Shehu, the President, Miners Association of Nigeria, supporting body of the upcoming iPAD Nigeria Mining Forum in Abuja in November.

1. Please give us some background and history of the Miners Association of Nigeria?
The Miners Association of Nigeria [MAN] is a national industry association whose diverse membership comprises exploration, quarry and mining companies in Nigeria, It also encompasses service and consultancy firms that relate to mining sector.

At inception in 1944, the Association was called the Association of African Miners and was meant to protect the interest of the African mine workers. Later in its history after independence, it transmuted into an Association of African mine owners and changed its name to The Miners Association of Nigeria in 1993. Indeed it is the umbrella body of all trade and industry associations in the mining industry.

2. How would you describe your role in the mining industry?
The role of Miners Association includes but is not limited to the following:
a] Unification of operators and create a common platform to discuss and offer solutions to our challenges.
b] Encourage the practice of efficient, skilful, orderly and safe mining and quarrying in Nigeria.
c] Advocate strict adherence to mining, quarrying and explosive Acts and make representation to the Government on any legislation or policy that is of concern to our members.
d] The Association acts as liaison between the Government and her members, as well as between the land owners and individual members.
e] Establish relationships with national and international stakeholders on issues that bother on mining.
f]  Facilitate funds and good market for its members.
g] Represent members in Government policy formulation and implementation. E.g MAN is a member of the committee that review the 2011 mining Regulation and currently a member of Explosive Review Committee.

3. What kind of projects are you running for your members  in the mining industry that you are involved in that you are particularly excited about?
It is obvious to state that the majority of our members are artisanal and small scale miners (ASMs) who have a lot of challenges like financial, technical etc.

To the above categories of our members MAN runs:
-  B-CONNECT PROGRAMME  --- Connecting members with  business partners
-  FUND-SOURCING  PROGRAMME --- Sourcing fund at single digit interest with long gestation period

My excitement about the mining industry in Nigeria is its ability to accommodate every player: small, medium and large. The mining sector also gives massive employment and creates a lot of activities in the rural areas.

4.  What do you see as the main challenges in the industry?
The main challenges for mining in Nigeria are;
-  Inadequate Geological Data
-  Insufficient funds; little funds available, very difficult to access
-  Mining community challenges
-  Multiple Government agencies claiming right over mining control
-  Low capacity of Government departments to oversee mining sector

5. What is your vision for the industry?
My vision for the mining industry is to see a mechanized and  robust industry that produces a processed minerals for export and industrial minerals as raw material for our local industries.

6. What did you decide to partner with iPAD Nigeria Mining Forum?
Partnership with iPAD Nigeria Mining Forum will help to achieve the above objective.

7. What will be your message at the event?
My message to iPAD Nigeria Mining Forum is that presentations, discussions and deliberations should be frank and aim at solving the challenges in the mining industry in Nigeria.