The Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has said that the country was losing 80 percent of revenue that would have accrued from the solid minerals sector, to illegal mining.
Mr Abunuma Samuel, the ministry’s Plan Officer, stated this while speaking to newsmen in Maru, Talata-Mafara Local Government in Zamfara, on Sunday.
Samuel spoke to newsmen after sensitising artisanal miners in Maru.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the federal government had, in April 2019, announced a ban on mining in Zamfara and its environs.
The government said that the ban was part of measures to address the security challenges in the state.
The plan officer said that government was concerned over illegal mining in the state in spite of its order.
According to him, the country is losing about 80 percent revenue from the solid minerals sector to artisanal mining.
“We are working to ensure that illegal miners formalise their activities.
“We are encouraging them to acquire the licence so that government will generate revenue from them.
“We are working to ensure that illegal mining is scrapped from the system.
“This is part of government’s policy to diversify the nation’s economy and minimise dependence on the oil sectors. We will ensure that the ban is implemented until it is lifted,’’ Samuel said.
Mr Aliyu Alhaji-Garba, Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), in a remark, regretted that miners were still involved in illegal activities in spite of the ban.
“We met with artisanal miners at the sites and told them to apply for licences either for exploration or exploitation.
“We told them to stop; the ban may be lifted in a month’s time. If it is lifted, only those with licence will be allowed to mine,’’ the Commandant said.
The Emir of Maru, Alhaji Abubakar Maigari, who also spoke while receiving the surveillance team at his palace, urged the government to review the ban.
Maigari advised the federal government to embark on sensitisation, instead of a total ban on mining.
“Though the measure helped in tackling insecurity in the state, ban will lead to unemployment.
“Most of the people from rural communities engage in artisanal mining as their means of livelihood,’’ he pointed out.