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FG tightens regulation to discourage illegal mining

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Friday, May 03, 2013 | 5/03/2013 09:54:00 am

The Federal Government is set to tighten its regulatory frameworks aimed at minimising illegal mining activities in the country.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Linus Awute, who stated this in an interview with Vanguard, asserted that the government is strengthening regulatory instruments to encourage diversification of the economy through the sector.

“The diversification of the economy is aimed at moving away from oil resource dependence, and the minerals and metals sector have been identified as one of the key sectors through which the economy can be diversified. And we, as a ministry being the custodian of that sector, have considered it worthy to strengthen our regulatory instruments, and to also see the extent to which we can internalise the legal framework that has been developed to back the activities of the sector,” he said.

Awute noted that what has been promoting illegal mining is the granting of licences to those who lack the capacity to survive in the business. “The only thing that has promoted illegal mining in recent times is where some people who have acquired licences to do business in a particular cadastral unit, at the end of the day, didn’t prove to have the capacity to do that business. So, that creates a loophole for the encroachment of those who can go in, scratch the ground and do other things and then get something out of it and then at the cost of the environment without any royalty accruing to government.
“But what we are doing now is to ensure that those with mineral titles and are not doing anything with them are brought to face the full wrath of the law, which is nothing other than the revocation of their licences and when that happens, the licences will be issued to anyone who has the capacity, the financial capacity as well as a minimum work plan with a given timeline to do what he is supposed to do,” he said.

The permanent secretary further noted that government has established a special intervention fund to address the financial needs of investors in the mining sector.
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