FG Intensifies Campaign Against Illegal Mining As Economic Sabotage

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Artisanal miners
Artisanal miners

In a bid to tackle the growing threat of illegal mining and bolster the contribution of the solid mineral sector to the nation’s gross domestic product, the Federal Government has ramped up its campaign to eradicate the menace plaguing the industry.

At a one-day stakeholders’ sensitisation/enlightenment workshop titled “Illegal Mining, An Act of Economic Sabotage,” organised by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development in Ibadan, the zonal mines officer for South West, Engr. Ajayi Gbenga emphasised the critical need to address the pervasive issue of illegal mining. He categorically stated that illegal mining amounts to economic sabotage, leading to substantial revenue loss and severe environmental degradation.

Ajayi outlined the detrimental impact of illegal mining, describing it as a multifaceted problem with negative ripple effects on the nation’s economy. He emphasised that it not only hampers genuine local and foreign investments in the sector but also impedes the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development’s efforts to diversify the economy in line with the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda of the current administration.

Commending the Federal Government for establishing the Presidential task force known as the “Solid Mineral Special Task Force (SMSTF),” Ajayi highlighted its crucial role in curbing the alarming spread of illegal mining activities in the South West and the entire country. He stressed the importance of collaboration between the state-based Mineral Resources and Environment Management Committee (MIREMCO) and state governments, along with the main committee (national committee) of the SMSTF, to effectively eliminate illegal mining operations nationwide.

The Solid Minerals Special Task Force (SMSTF) is structured with a national committee, comprising the main committee and a technical committee at the headquarters level. Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake chairs the main committee.

Roles and responsibilities of the SMSTF include: Developing operational modalities to check illegal mining activities and enhance revenue generation, undertaking unscheduled visits to flashpoints to combat illegal mining activity, developing an inventory of flashpoints of artisanal and small scale mining sites and mineral processing points across the country.

The workshop, a dual-purpose event covering stakeholders’ training and sensitisation/enlightenment on illegal mining as an act of economic sabotage and training on soft-computing models for crusher selection and optimum rock fragmentation: application of crushware and fragware, was organised by the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development. The event took place at the Federal Secretariat Complex Conference Hall, Ikoloba Ibadan, Oyo State.

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