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.
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.
“ 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.” Adegbite, Minister of Mines and Power.
“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 organized 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 as we did, we can approach them and teach them safer methods of mining,” he added.