The number of illegal mining sites in operation all over Nigeria has been set at 1,759, according to Vanguard.

This information was disclosed by Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Olamilekan Adegbite while speaking at an event that brought stakeholders in the sector together in Ekiti.

The Details: Giving details about the illegal sites, Adegbite noted that the government had been engaging mining operators in these communities to lure them into formally registered cooperatives for the purpose of safely mining the nation’s resources.

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Adegbite words: “A total number of 1,759 Artisanal and Small Scale Miners, ASM, sites have so far been identified across Nigeria. With consistent interventions by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development 1,346, artisanal mining operators have been drawn into forming registered Artisanal Mining Cooperatives, AMCs, in readiness to access SmalI-scale Mining Licenses, SML.

“Each of the 1,346 mining cooperatives comprises over 10 members; with additional 20 mine workers for each cooperative.

It is a continuous process from the operators who have been organised into groups, they can come forward and apply for loans, it is not for us to go out and distribute money, everyone is aware that the money exists, people should come up with plans, cooperative bodies that are fully registered will be able to serve as guarantors to individuals. On the artisanal sites have been discovered like we did, we can approach them and teach them safer methods of mining,” he added.

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In addition to continued engagements, Adegbite noted that the Ministry would pay attention to these communities while making sure they benefit from the Community Development Agreements in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.

What you should know: The government has been trying to revive the sector in recent times. As published by Nairametrics, Pedro Omontuemhen, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers disclosed that in some African countries, the contribution of mining to the GDP hovers around 15-25% but Nigeria’s contribution is less than 1%.

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Despite the host of the mineral resources in Nigeria, the mining sector has been classified as non-performing. Hopefully, with the new revival of the sector, mining will start to play significant roles in the economy as the Minister looks to engage communities illegally mining the nation’s resources.

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