By; MOHAMMED MUNIRAT NASIR, Gusau
Zamfara State Governor, Dr Bello Mohammed Matawalle has disclosed that his administration will not relent in taking decisive actions to checkmate all activities capable of breeding insecurity in the state.
Matawalle made the disclosure at the Government House Gusau while inaugurating a 20-man anti-illegal mining committee under the Chairmanship of former National Secretary of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Alhaji Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi.
Matawalle said the institution of the committee was imperative in the light of the continued illegal mining activities despite outlawing of the practice which, in itself, is counter productive.
It is also reported that the activities of illegal mining may have a link to the tertorist activities troubling the state, hence the ban by the Federal Government and the establishment of the anti illegal miming squad which the Committee at the state level will now complement.
“Even though mining is placed on the exclusive list in our constitution, mining activities have a huge impact on our State’s economy and the lives of our people,” he said.
Matawalle said before the current suspension of mining activities in the State by the Federal Government, a survey had shown that over 100,000 artisanal miners are operating in the State.
“However, as they produce roughly 10 tonnes of gold per year they sell it at a local value of 70-80 percent of the international price,
“The majority of miners working in the various mining fields do so without any type of license, such as reconnaissance, exploration, or mining leases license. “This deprives the Federal Government of royalties and the State Government from access fees, ground rents, and other levies that the State may deem appropriate in order to facilitate the safety, security and wellbeing of the miners and the mining communities, all while remaining within the legal parameters.
“It is also reported that the activities of illegal mining may have a link to the terrorist activities troubling the state, hence the ban by the Federal Government and the establishment of the anti illegal miming squad which the Committee at the state level will now complement.” he said
The committee terms of reference includes to:identify the sites where mining activities take place in the State and determine the type and size of the activities taking place on each of the sites.
It also to identify owners of the site and the genuineness of their ownership and to ascertain the extent of conformity of the mining activities in the State with mining regulations and to advise the State Government on any other mining-related issue, as well as on mining revenue sources for the State.