The Ministry of Mines and Steel has lamented the spate of illegal mining business in Nigeria, following continued neglect of a sub-sector which is capable of providing millions of jobs for unemployed Nigerians.
According to the permanent secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel, Linus Awute, “What the country loses to illegal mining is tremendous; but the truth is that the amount of gold that left this country because of the illegal mining activities was more than $50 billion in the last two years.”
Awute who spoke at a Nigerian-Brazil Investment Forum held in Abuja recently, said that the illicit venture has snowballed into a mega business as expatriates and their Nigerian collaborators now run cartels around it, with no licences or mining rights, raking in millions of dollars each year.
Recent research has also shown that Zamfara State alone lost N62 billion to the illicit business within the last few years. Following this revelation, stakeholders blamed the trend on the unfortunate neglect of the sub-sector and over-reliance on oil.