The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, has promised to revoke all dormant mining licences this week.
Mr. Fayemi announced this during a one day working visit to Kurupka site in Chanchaga Local Government Area of Niger on Monday.
He said the administration would no longer accept operators who kept their licences from the purpose they were issued, adding that they would be revoked and issued to genuine mining investors.
He noted that most of the land that were allocated as mining sites to miners had been acquired illegally.
NAN recalled that the Mining Cadestre Office under the ministry had said that more than 500 mining licences would be revoked due to non compliance with the 2007 Mining Act.
He said the ministry would begin formalisation of illegal miners into a structure to enable them to earn their livelihood in a safe environment and according to global standard .
“We want them to form a cooperative to enable us to give them a structure that the ministry can work with and anybody that refuses to be part of the structure will face the law.
“We are not going to allow illegal mining to continue; we will bring it to an end; we are not depriving them, but we want to meet up with the Mining Act of 2007,” he said.
He promised that the Federal Government would devise means of assisting them with necessary equipment and financial support among others.
According to him, Gold, which is a vital mineral, is not on the record of the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and is being mined in the site.
“Gold is being smuggled out of the country to other countries without tax, record and revenue to show on a daily basis from the mineral that we are endowed with; this will no longer be acceptable.
Speaking at the site, Aliyu Taguwagi, Niger Commissioner for Environment, expressed support to the minister to revoke non-functional mining titles.
He said such titles should be re-issued to serious mining investors. He appreciated the ministers’ plans to legalise the activities of illegal miners in the state.
Edward Danladi, the Vice Chairman, Miners Association of Nigeria, called for synergy among the federal, states and other stakeholders to help tackle illegal mining in the state and other parts of the country.
Mr. Danladi called on the ministry to provide adequate inspection vehicles for its staff in the state for effective monitoring of areas under exploration lists.
He explained that the illegal miners were mostly sponsored by the Chinese, Botswana, Cameroonians and Niger Republic citizens.
The Emir of Minna, Farouk Bahago who received the minister and the ministry’s minister of state in his palace, expressed appreciation of their plans to legalise mining in the state.
Mr. Bahago urged the minister to assist the people with loans and standard equipment to perform their mining activities.
No fewer than 1,000 illegal miners are conducting illegal mining operation on the site with manual equipment such as diggers and shovels.
The Minister for State, Solid minerals Development, Abubakar Bwari and other top officials of the ministry were on the entourage.