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Host Communities Have No Legal Right To Approve Mining Operators

todayAugust 8, 2023 95

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The Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), says host communities in mining sites across the country have no legal right to approve the authenticity of mining operators.

The President, Dele Ayanleke stated this while addressing journalists on the effects of State governments interference on the mining sites in Abuja.

He added that the competence of approving legality of operators resides with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development or any of its agencies, saddled with the various regulatory functions.

“Taraba State Government, or any other state/local governments for that matter, does not have the competence to determine the legality of any operator; such competence resides with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development or any of its agencies, saddled with the various regulatory functions” Ayanleke added.

Ayanleke further explained that though the association is not in support of illegal mining activities but the formation of taskforce by host communities is totally unacceptable.

The MAN President lamented that among the 48 miners arrested and detained by the Taraba state government are staff of a company with valid mining license.

“Among the 48 so-called illegal miners now in jail in Taraba State, there are seven members of staff of a company with valid Mining Lease, whose operational site was invaded by operatives of the Task Force.

“We are, however, of the belief and conviction, that the issue of illegality in the system must be appraised and confronted in the whole. A situation where a group of stakeholders is being stigmatized as the perpetrators of illegality by the holders of coercive machinery of the state, is totally unacceptable” he stressed.

He condemned the alleged State Government’s abuse of Mining Act 2007 and Mining Regulations 2011.

“While we appreciate the ambitions of the new leadership in our various states to accelerate socioeconomic development, leveraging on the nature’s endowments within their domains, it is of no less importance to pursue these ambitions within all extant constitutional and legal frameworks in order not to breed anarchy and constitutional crisis that may render their efforts and those of the national government unproductive” he emphasized.

“Not quite long after the swearing-in of the new governors that the mining industry started witnessing an avalanche of Executive Orders, banning mining activities in some states like Ebonyi, Osun, Enugu, Cross River, Taraba and others.

“Taraba State Government went as far as setting up a Task Force on illegal mining and deforestation with full authority to arrest, summarily prosecute and sentence anyone found culpable under its own laws”

“Miners Association of Nigeria, as the umbrella body of operators and investors in the solid minerals sector value-chain, has never been, neither would it be, in support of illegal mining operations under any guise. And our resolve to ensure a sanitized mining environment is the reason and motivation for our active collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and its agencies over the years, in the overall interest of our national economy.

Ayanleke therefore appealed to the Federal Government to call state governments to order by honoring their oath to defend and uphold the Constitution of the nation in order to engender an atmosphere of mining best practices so that local investors can contribute their quotas to the economic development of the country and open windows for foreign investments.

Georgina Humphrey, Edited By Grace Namiji

Written by: Elizabeth David

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