By Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has warned illegal miners across the country to register and obtain licences for their operations or face the wrath of the law.
The Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) handed down the warning at a meeting with mining stakeholders from Kwali, Kuje and Gwagwalada Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja
The FCT Mines Environmental Compliant Officer and a member of MIREMCO from the Ministry of Mines and Steel, Engr. Osseini Enoch who gave the warning, urged illegal miners to register and obtain licences for their operations or face the wrath of the law.
He also advised registered miners to ensure they sign Community Development Agreements (CDAs) with their host communities.
According to him, “registration of all illegal miners and signing of CDAs by registered miners must be done on or before January 31, 2019,” adding that “whoever that is operating illegally has a month to register, from now to January 31.”
He further admonished the miners: “Get your licence approved, if you have not applied, go and apply. If you do not apply by January 31, 2019, there will be no place for you to operate.Please use this period to do the needful after which the law will take its course.”
He noted that pollution and illegal mining activities in Kwali, Kuje and Gwagwalada Area Councils were enormous and beyond what the government could ignore, adding that the purpose of the meeting was to sensitise the communities on the dangers of habouring illegal miners to operate in their communities and the danger of pollution in communities.
One of the basic functions of MIREMCO, he stated, is to consider issues affecting the communities in terms of environment, pollution and most cases, deal with these issues decisively to avoid an attitude of violence that might erupt between the mining communities and the title holders of the minerals.
In a related development, the federal government, has received the output of the deskwork studies conducted by contractors of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development on Integrated Exploration Projects under the Natural Resources Fund.
Receiving the report, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Abubakar Bawa Bwari, who spoke on behalf of government, reassured investors of adequate geoscience data.
He hinted that the key objective of the exploration projects therefore was to rapidly generate integrated Geosciences information in Greenfield and Brownfield settings