In a bid to curb activities of illegal artisanal miners in the state, Government of State of Osun has carried out biometric registration of miners across the communities in the state.
The Special Adviser to Governor Aregbesola on Forestry, Natural and Mineral Resources, Mr. Babatunde Ajilore who disclosed this said that no fewer than 5,000 artisanal miners had been registered and legally allowed to operate in the state.
He said that the government took the step in order to curb the scourge of illegal mining in the state adding that the efforts geared towards ensuring that all taxes and levies are paid to government and the public.
Ajilore said further that government’s intervention was to restore sanity into the process of exploring mineral resources in the state as well as curbing environmental degradation and importantly increase the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
He stressed that biometric registration will also guarantee adequate security around the mining communities by the government.
It would be recalled that some mining sites in state especially Itagunmodi, community with large deposit of gold have been experiencing uncoordinated activities of many illegal miners with government regulation.
The government has lost huge sum of money to the menace of illegal miners operating in the state for several years.
According to him, “the registration, though continuous, has given the state adequate database structure that will create opportunities for artisanal miners in the state. It will help the government to organize the artisanal miners into Cooperatives for empowerment for necessary assistance and support.
“The government has painstakingly restore orderliness and put in place proper regulatory measure to curb illegal mining in the state.
He said government’s effort to know those behind mining activities in the state was borne out of its determination to protect lives and property of the residents against environmental degradation and as well raise revenue bar of the state.
The governor initiative on precious stones which gold is one of them started in May, 2017 and it is targeted at organising the activities of the miners. There has been a lot of chaos regarding environmental degradation and a lot of security concerns but we have painstakingly taken rigorous actions to curb lawlessness.
“We are able to identify the dealers, agents and labourers. All our approaches are done in a sustainable manner so that the environment is protected and future generation can benefit from the legacy,” Ajilore said.
“We have met with the agents who are numerous in number because there are reports that many of these people come from West African nations to mine the gold.
He noted that the State has written to the federal government to create a synergy and invoke the mining Act 2017, to foster better understanding between local, state and federal governments.
“We have gotten the approval from the federal government to enact this and the State of Osun governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has inaugurated the committee which is called Mineral Resources Management Committee (MIREMCO).
The committee comprises of the Federal mining officer, representative of Federal Ministry of Environment and other major stakeholders in the state.
Some of the residents of the mining communities have lauded government for the initiative in curbing the activities of illegal miners which causes havoc to the environment.
They held that the new procedure will make government’s mining inspectors to be of immense help to the miners as well as the communities involved to ensure both parties benefit from the process.
In the past years, the sector has experienced all sort of uncoordinated activities as many illegal miners operate without government regulation.