By PATRICK OCHOGA, Benin City
Licensed solid mineral prospectors in Edo state yesterday have called on the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to urgently halt what it described as the illegal activities of some miners and invaders at a gold deposit site in Dangbala community in Akoko-Edo local government of Edo state.
The legal miners also expressed regret that despite several petitions and cry to the ministry of mines and steel through the zonal mines officer, (ZMO) in charge calling on the authority to come to their aid and get these miners off the site for genuine licensed miners.
This appeal is coming on the heels of a seeming crisis between investors on one hand and Ewan /Dangbala communities where large quantities of gold are being mined by some illegal miners.
It was gathered that prior to the appeal, illegal miners were said to have taken over sites thereby heightening tension in the peaceful Ewan and Dangbala communities.
It was however gathered that last week, thousands of illegal miners were reported to have moved out of the limestone and gold site in Dangbala communities following a protest among stakeholders and investors.
Speaking on the development, Mr Fatai Jimoh, the operating officer for Macana company Limited in Auchi, shortly after a peace meeting was held between community leaders and traditional rulers at the palace of Okaku of Dangbala, His Royal Highness, Albert Agbebaku said the activities of these miners has robbed the federal government of the much needed revenue.
“The illegal miners have graduated from working without papers, while some with papers work in an area where they do not have jurisdiction of license to mine gold or any mineral. They parade deceit license to hoodwink men of the civil defence. They got license on an area that is free of gold or mineral deposit.
“We have reported to the ministry of Mines and Steel development, we wrote to the mining cadastral office, Abuja over this matter. My advice is that the ministry should come out with stronger terms and free itself from the possibility of trying to support any miners without license.
“The mining cadastral office should do more than they are doing whenever there is report, they should set up a committee to look into. The security operatives need to learn how to identify fake mining licenses. What I mean is that every license has its longitude and latitude. Whoever say he has license can only work where it longitude and latitude stipulate.
“Also, the traditional rulers need to know that all mineral belongs to the federal and they should respect the mining cadastral office and stop giving consent for existing places.”