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Nigeria Loses $9 Billion To Illegal Mining Annually – Dele Alake

By George George Idowu

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Dele Alake, has called for an annual budget of N70 billion to cover Nigeria’s minerals exploration comprehensively.

He expressed dismay over meagre investment being budgeted for minerals exploration in the country, fearing that current budget levels for minerals exploration in the countrycould impede progress, except for theSenate support.

In addition, when he appeared on Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals investigative hearing at the National Assembly, Abuja, Alake informed the Senators about his ministry’s efforts to combat illegal mining which included deployment of 2,220 Mining Marshals across the country and the Federal Capital Terrirory, Abuja.

He outlined ongoing advocacy campaigns embarked on by his ministry to dislodge illegal miners and reduced illegal mining to the barest minimum in the country.

He equally explained that artisanal miners need to be encourage to formalize their operations, with over 152 cooperatives formed nationwide as part of the ministry’s agenda to sanitize the sector.

On the meagre annual budget for minerals exporation in Nigeria, Alake cited data from Standard and Poor which ranked Nigeria 12th in Africa with a $2.5 million exploration budget, he said this is far below and behind other Africa countries like Ivory Cost with $147 million and Congo $133 million annual investments on mineral exploration activities.

Responding, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, commended Alake and his team for their commitment to end illegal mining in Nigeria and ensure a dependeable source of revenue from oil.

He highlighted the presidency’s commitment to leveraging solid minerals for economic diversification.

On his part, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals Development, Senator Ekong Samson, noted the importance of the investigative hering in addressing the challenges impeding progress in the minin sector despite Nigeria’s vast mineral wealth.


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