A business solutions provider, ITM Nigeria, said it has become imperative for operators in the mining sector to focus on quality human capacity development for effective performance, productivity, profitability, and sustainability.
This assertion was made by the Country Manager, ITM Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, in an interview with Vanguard while stressing on the need for operators to uphold global best practices and standards for the industry.
According to Waziri Nigeria has the highest number of unskilled citizens and a high number of skilled labour, but underemployed, which makes it right for a company to focus and build the human capital.
ITM is a business solutions provider and mostly focus now on human resource development, in terms of capacity building, training, recruitment and outsourcing, and operates across all sectors, both in public and private organizations.
She said: “One of the major issues that I have identified and witnessed about operators in the sector and I strongly believe exist but no one is talking about is they undervalue the resource called the human.
“No one treasures human capital or no one invest in manpower developments as a whole, and this is one of the most important parts of the value chain.
We are moving into exploration, we are moving from artisanal mining to small scale mining to large scale mining.
“That is part of the lifeline. And through all those processes we need humans to operate those mines, we need humans to transport these commodities, we need humans to broken the cell, but are these humans treated well? That is the question, and that is one of the key points I raised at the recent summit.
“How building a sustainable human capital and talent pool would be the biggest contributor in the n Nigerian mining industry, through education, skill-building and that’s the answer if we value that part of the chain more I think we would be able to compete with the oil and gas sector, renewable, and so forth.
I have faith that people want to see the sector grow because it is a lot of money and a lot of minerals, every state has mineral, and if we do it the right way we will definitely succeed.
“ITM again, is a business solutions provider, on the value chain, what we would do as an organisation, is to hold safety training, supply train management, and logistics.
We would do a mining survey and inspection, the working conditions, making sure that miners are wearing the right equipment, have their safety risks and hazards are all measured before the mining activity commences.
“On the other next set of the value chain, is making sure the routes that they are taken there is a risk assessment that is done, knowing the timings as well, working together with the local communities and stakeholders, to ensure that all tensions are managed properly and do a lot of sensitization.”
She further stated that “As a recruiter, I have to get 10 viable staff that I can recommend for organizations whether it is the senior level of junior level I have to interview a hundred people to get 10 recommendations from that time the organization will be able to employ one or two. “I believe if there is a problem there is a solution.
That problem exists in Nigeria. I believe that our company can fill that gap alongside other consultancies that are doing similar services like ours. So that is the reason why we are in Nigeria and decided to start with the human resource as the solution.”
On the issue of cheap labour, cutting corners on safety procedures and protection of lives of workers at the mines, she said it is an African problem and needs a serious priority.
“I think cheap labour is an African problem. Have you seen the mines in the Congo, my company’s headquarters is in Congo? I have been to the Congo.
I have colleagues that work in Lokagu, Old Katanga, so it is not a Nigerian problem, we have a country office that operates in Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Angola, it is not a Nigerian problem only.
“After several conversations with the Ministry of Mines and the agencies under the Ministry, I do have faith that they are moving their strategies in line with the right standard of operation.
“I do believe that the pressure now to diversify the economy, accompanied with the huge interest of foreign investment into the mining industry that has strict standards of operation is going to force not just the government but the mine owners as well and the local communities have to adhere to such standards.
“I have faith in the Ministry, the Honourable Minister and Minister of State in terms of executing what this industry is meant to look like on a global scale”, she said.