From Tony Osauzo, Benin
Legal gold mining license holders and investors in solid minerals in Edo State, yesterday, called on the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to urgently halt activities of illegal miners in the state, particularly in Dagbala in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area with large deposit of gold that has become operational base of illegal miners, who are said to be disrupting the activities of genuine miners.
Besides, the miners expressed reservations that not much is being done on several petitions and cry from them to the ministry through the Zonal Mines Office in the state, laamenting that some of them have been forced to abandon their site because of the activities of illegal miners to avert physical clashes.
The Operating Officer of one of the companies in Dagbala, Macana Company Limited, Fatai Jimoh, made the call after a meeting between the management of the company and the traditional institution of Dagbala led by the Okaku I of Dagbala, HRH Albert Agbebaku, to discuss ways on how the company can return to site after being forced to abandon its operational area because of the activities of illegal miners.
He disclosed that the activities of the miners are also robbing the federal government of the much needed revenue.
“The illegal miners have graduated from working without papers, while some with papers work in an area where they do not have jurisdiction or license to mine gold or any mineral. They parade deceit license to hoodwink security men when they are confronted.
“We have reported to the Ministry of Mines and Steel development, we wrote to the mining cadastral office, Abuja over this matter. My advice is that the ministry should come out with stronger terms and free itself from the possibility of trying to support any miners without license.
“The mining cadastral office should do more than they are doing whenever there is a report. The security operatives need to learn how to identify fake mining licenses. What I mean is that every license has its longitude and latitude. Whoever says he has a license can only work where its longitude and latitude stipulate.
“Also, the traditional rulers need to know that all mineral belongs to the federal government and they should respect the mining cadastral office and stop giving consent for existing places”, Jimoh said.