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Nigeria gives 30days ultimatum to illegal miners


The Nigerian government has announced a sweeping review of mining licenses across the West African country, issuing a 30-day ultimatum to illegal miners to regularize their operations.

This move is part of a comprehensive transformation agenda set for the mining sector by the government, and it is aimed at creating a more transparent and sustainable mining industry that contributes to economic growth and development, Minister of Solid Minerals Dele Alake said at a press conference in the national capital of Abuja on Sunday.

“On the expiration of the period, the full weight of the law will fall on anyone seen on a mining site without a determinable status,” Alake said, encouraging artisanal miners to embrace entreaties by the government to join existing artisanal cooperatives and be formalized.

The move is designed to bring illegal mining operations into the formal sector, where they can be better monitored, regulated, and taxed.

The official said starting next month, a rejuvenated security regime will become active in the solid minerals sector, including forming a marine police to detect illegal mining and apprehend offenders.

The minister emphasized that the government was committed to fostering a mining sector characterized by accountability, adherence to environmental standards, and the equitable distribution of wealth generated from mining activities.

According to him, the government was determined to overhaul the mining sector to maximize its potential benefits. The comprehensive review will encompass all mining licenses, scrutinizing compliance with regulations, environmental impact assessments, and adherence to best practices. Mining companies found to be in violation of these standards may face the revocation of their licenses.

Current data by the Nigerian government indicate that the mining sector is estimated to have more than 2 million operators, including 633 small-scale companies and 251,500 registered miners. Last year, the sector accounted for less than 2 percent of the gross domestic product.

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