Minister Issues Thirty Days Ultimatum To Illegal Miners


Nigeria’s Ministry of Solid Minerals Development have issued 30 days ultimatum to illegal miners in the country to join registered co-operatives of artisans or face the law.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Oladele Alake issued the ultimatum at a press briefing in Abuja where he also made known his agenda for the sector.

According to Mr. Alake, the presence of illegal miners in the industry has been harmful and creates an insecure environment for international investors.

“There is a consensus among all stakeholders in the industry that the most pernicious obstacle to the security of the investment environment is the massive presence of illegal miners. It is quite understandable that mining activities are like a second occupation for many farmers and traders in areas where deposits are found. 

 “Let me declare that the Ministry is giving such persons 30 days grace to join a miners’ co-operative or find another vocation to do. On the expiration of the period, the full weight of the law will fall on anyone seen on a mining site without a determinable status. This message will be interpreted into Nigerian languages and broadcast on the radio to ensure no one is ignorant of this directive,” Alake said.

As a follow up to the ultimatum, the Minister added that there will be an enforcement by security agencies in the sector to arrest illegal miners.

“From October, a rejuvenated security regime will become active in the solid minerals sector. This will include the Mine Police, sourced from the Nigeria Police and specially trained to detect illegal mining and apprehend offenders. The new Mines Surveillance Security Task Force will coordinate the Mines Police and pro-actively address high risk incidences of breach of Mining Laws. The Federal and State governments will also be encouraged to allocate the prosecution of cases against illegal miners to competent courts,” he said.

Mr. Alake noted that the Ministry would continuously review the standard operating procedures for engaging communities within mining licenses in order to improve relations between the communities and mining licensees.

Nigeria Solid Minerals Corporation 

While listing out the transformation agenda plan of President Tinubu’s administration for the Solid Minerals Sector, the Minister stated that the Ministry would work towards the incorporation of the Nigerian Solid Minerals Corporation.

“This is a corporate body that will have subsidiaries doing business in the seven priority areas that require immediate intervention and focus: Gold, Coal, Limestone, Bitumen, Lead, Iron-ore and Baryte. Existing enterprises, such as the National Iron-Ore Company, and ongoing arrangements, such as the Bitumen Concessioning Programme, will be reviewed to fit into this new system.

“The proposed corporation will seek and secure partnership investment agreements with big Multinational companies worldwide to leverage on the attractive investment-friendly regime operating in the country to secure massive Foreign Direct Investment for the mining sector. The positioning of the national corporation as a guarantor and protector of the partnership agreements is patriotism to assure partners of our seriousness and fidelity,” Alake said.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development further explained that other areas of focus will be to enter joint ventures with mining multinationals, gather Big Data on specific seven priority minerals and their deposits, and establish 6 Mineral Processing Centres to focus on value-added products.

He added that the Ministry would embark on a comprehensive review of all mining licenses in the country and a total overhaul of mining licenses.