According to Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Linus Awute, illegal mining is going on in the country because some holders of mining permits have not ensured proper use of their licences.
Awute, who represented the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Muhammed Musa Sada, at an interactive session with members of the Dredged Stockpilers Association of Lagos State, said: “The only condition upon which one will find illegal activities taking place anywhere is only because the custodian of that place who is believed to be the rightful owner of that mineral title does not ensure that the licence is used for the purpose for which it is acquired.
“From now on, those who hold mining licences, who are doing nothing, who are speculating, will have their mining licences revoked.
“So, we are carrying out a study that is going to give us an idea of the dimension of such illegality and then we profile that properly and then take a decision on them,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the dredgers association, Mr. Ayo Odunlami, while commending the ministry for the reforms it is undertaking in the sector, lamented the difficulties faced by members of the association arising from huge size of mining rights acquired by individuals, who do not have the capacity to cover such areas.
“For us to operate in this business, we needed and obtained what is called cadastral permit from the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. After that, we went into operation, only to find one man sending us letters through lawyers, that we are encroaching on his cadastral,” Odunlami stated.