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Long absence of Solid Minerals Regulatory Commission fueled illegal mining—BHIU
New report published by Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU), the investigative arm of Business Hilights Media group, has revealed that the absence of a federal Commission charged with regulatory activities in the nation’s mining sector is responsible for exponential growth in illegal mining in parts of the country.
The report noted that “The oversight exhibited by previous governments which predates to since solid minerals were discovered in commercial quantity in parts of the country encouraged illegal miners to have filed day for too long.”
“Every State in Nigeria, has not less than one solid mineral that when developed and explored accordingly is capable of generating revenue that can contribute in growing both state and national economy.
“Only late last year, a report revealed that solid minerals worth over $100bn were being illegally shipped out of the country at a time government is running from pillar to post scavenging for income accessories to shore up Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) both at federal level and states.
“Though part of the 1999 constitutional provisions bordering on solid minerals made it clear on the need to set up a regulatory commission, but previous administrations from President Olusegun Obasanjo failed to do the needful, thus fueling illegal mining activities that are becoming very hard to curtail by the present government.
However, indications have emerged showing the readiness of the current administration to establish the Nigerian Mining Commission to take charge of the regulatory role of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
This is to ensure predictability in the mining sector and boost local and international investments.
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who disclosed this at the Nigeria Day at the ongoing African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday, said the law setting up the commission was already with the National Assembly.
Fayemi spoke as Nigeria took the centre stage at the forum, with the formal presentation of its new Airborne Electromagnetic Survey results amid endorsements for the country’s mining sector reforms by experts, operators and developmental agencies, according to a statement by the minister’s Special Adviser on Media, Olayinka Oyebode.
The presentation of the Airborne Electromagnetic Survey results, a high point of Wednesday’s event, was witnessed by renowned stakeholders in global mining, including the Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals of Venezuela, Franklin Ramirez Araque; Australian Ambassador to Nigeria, Paul Lehman; Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Musa Ibeto; and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry.
Others were representatives of top mining conglomerates and mining nations such as Canada, Zambia, Angola, South Africa and Senegal.
The Minister averred that federal government was determined to strengthen regulation in the sector as well as ensure the improvement of its geological data.
He said the commission would not only be the final authority on regulatory matters, it would also take charge of mining leases from where the government will be raking in the needed revenue.