Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The House of Representatives has directed the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to provide geological records of gold deposits in the country.
The directive was given yesterday following a motion adopted by the House at the plenary on the need to prioritise gold mining as one of the major earners of revenue to the nation, moved by Hon. Oghene Egoh.
He recalled that on April 7, 2019, the federal government banned all mining activities in Zamfara State and directed all foreigners operating in the mining fields to leave within 48 hours, threatening to revoke the licence of any recalcitrant mining operator.
He noted that Nigeria has about 21.40 tonnes of gold deposits, hence, the need for many large-scale gold mining companies, gold mining policies, state-of-the-art geological survey, including map production and maintenance of up to date geological records, health and safety inspections and maintenance records, legal records of licences and legal examination of new applications, among others.
Egoh noted that a publication in THISDAY revealed that Nigeria lost about $9 billion to illegal mining every year, while many lives are lost as a result of mining activities that ignore environmental protection policies.
He said going by the official records that mining in Nigeria accounts for a mere 0.3 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), was an indication that the federal government might not have official records of the amount of mineral deposits in Nigeria which if ascertained, could make the mineral sector one of the largest contributors to government’s revenues through the payment of royalties, employees income taxes and corporate taxes.
Egoh lamented that though Gold is found in large quantities in Zamfara State, illegal miners cart away billions of dollars’ worth of gold yearly, leaving the state with poor state of education and inadequate healthcare system.
At the end of the debate, the House “urged the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to provide geological records of Gold deposits in Nigeria. Mandate the Committee on Solid Minerals Development to ensure compliance.”