FG raises awareness on illegal Mining as economic sabotage

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By Palma Ileye

As part of efforts to curb the activities of illegal mining in the country and ensure Solid Mineral sector contribute significantly to the gross domestic product of the economy, the Federal Government has stepped up its campaign drive towards eliminating the scourge besetting the sector.

This is contained in a press release issued yesterday by Alaba Balogun, Deputy-Director, Information and Public Relations of the Ministry of Solid Mineral Development to newsmen in Abuja.

Speaking at a one-day stakeholders’ sensitization/enlightenment workshop titled: “Illegal Mining, An Act of Economic Sabotage”- organized by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development in Ibadan; Zonal Mines Officer, South West, Engr Ajayi Gbenga explained that the spread of illegal mining in Oyo State and entire country, was an act of economic sabotage which had deprived the nation of substantial revenue, including causing serious environmental degradation.

During his presentation, Ajayi posited that the pervasive spread of illegal mining operators in Oyo State was an hydra headed monster that has negative multiplier effects on the nation’s economy.

He further stated that it posed a stumbling block to genuine local and foreign investors in the sector as well as a clog in the wheel of progress of efforts by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development to diversify the economy in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present administration.

To this end, he commended the Federal Government for establishing the Presidential task force tagged; “Solid Mineral Special Task Force, SMSTF, which was saddled with the responsibility of curbing the alarming spread of the menace of illegal mining activities in the South West and entire country.

To actualize this laudable objective, he averred that the States based Mineral Resources and Environment Management Committee, MIREMCO, as provided in the Nigerian Minerals and Mining, Section 19 of the Act 2007 and Nigerian Minerals and Regulations 2011, must cooperate with the State Governments to realize their mandate; stressing, synergy of efforts with the main committee (National Committee) of the SMSTF will empower the relevant agencies of government to achieve their overall objective of effectively curbing, if not outright elimination of illegal mining operations across the country; with the capacity to carry out a sting or crack down operations against them.

The statement disclosed, “It is pertinent to state that the Solid Minerals Special Task Force, SMSTF, is structured to have the National Committee made up of the main committee and a technical committee at the headquarters level. The Honourable Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake is the Chairman of the main committee.

“Roles and responsibilities of the SMSTF include, but not limited to: Work out the operation modalities to check illegal mining activities and enhance revenue generation. “Undertake several unscheduled visits to all the flashpoints to combat illegal mining activity. “Develop the inventory of flashpoints of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining sites and Mineral processing points across the country.”

According to the statement, the workshop is a 2 in one Stakeholders Training and Sensitization/Enlightenment campaign on Illegal Mining As An Act of Economic Sabotage & Training On Soft-Computing Models For Crusher Selection And Optimum Rock Fragmentation: Application Of Crushware and Fragware: was organized by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development; and held at the Federal Secretariat Complex Conference Hall, Ikoloba Ibadan, Oyo State.