Combating illegal mining activities across Nigeria is a ‘tough’ and ‘complicated’ issue that requires painstaking and long-time measures to be successful, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, said Tuesday.
“There are illegal activities involving mining without licence, but the reality is that it’s often more complicated,” Mr. Fayemi said.
The minister spoke during a working lunch organised by the Africa Finance Corporation as part of its premier economic summit which opened in Abuja on Monday and closed Tuesday night.
Mr. Fayemi said Nigerian government was aware of illegal mining activities across the country, especially those involving Chinese.
“We’re prosecuting a case of suspected illegal mining involving the Chinese,” Mr. Fayemi said in response to a PREMIUM TIMES’ question what the administration has been doing to combat the menace.
Illegal mining has become a potent threat to Nigeria’s mining sector in recent years. Apart from the untold financial loss it constitutes, experts also warned about its negative effect on the environment.
In 2012, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, said Chinese and Indian miners were conniving with locals to plunder Nigeria’s natural resources.
But Mr. Fayemi said the government had launched a crackdown on the illegal miners.
“We’re prosecuting a case involving the Chinese and suspected illegal mining,” the minister said.
He, however, noted that the Chinese participating in illegal activities in Nigeria’s mining sector do so for their personal gain and absolved their government of any culpability.
“Many of them are not representing their government, they’re prospecting for whatever they can find for their personal gains,” he said.
He also acknowledged that there are law-abiding Chinese in the mining industry.
“But some Chinese are also working in with local investors and they’re working with government agencies to do legal mining activities,” he said.
The minister said a task force established to combat illegal mining had commenced work across the country.
“More importantly, we also know that some people don’t know that we have mine surveillance task force, which comprised of the police, NSCDC and the State Security Service, after about forty years.
“There haven’t been mining police in the country for about four decades and we just established the task force this year. And they’re working out of our offices.
“Combating illegal mining is a tough one that we have to address,” he said.
He urged Nigerians and foreign investors with interest in mining to tap into several financing schemes put in place by the Buhari administration to encourage participation and boost investors’ confidence
“There are export enhancement schemes in the EXIM Bank.
“There’s a $150 million we just got from the World Bank that potential investors could tap into.
“The N30 billion mining intervention fund that government just put together can also be accessed,” he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...