An expert on mineral exploration, Engr. Abel Ozigi, has disclosed that the Kogi state government “loses over N240 billion annually through illegal mining activities” in the state, urging the government to take “proactive measures to curtail the monumental loss.”
The expert made the disclosure this in Lokoja on Thursday during a maiden stakeholders’ meeting organised by Kogi state Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO).
Ozigi, a Senior Special Assistant to Kogi Governor on Project Liaison and Management, further stated that “non-compliance to labour law, environmental degradation and avoidable communal conflicts that most often lead to death are some of the reasons relevant authorities ought to expediently rise to seek lasting solution to illegal mining
He said: “Pollution from mining and related activities has a detrimental impact on the environment. For instance, when illegal miners use liquid mercury to extract gold without the proper equipment, the mercury is released as effluent into rivers which contaminates the aquatic bodies that are eventually consumed by humans.
“The effect of this is mercury poisoning which leads to several health challenges such as infertility, urinary tract infection, leukemia and heart related diseases among few.”
Earlier, chairman of the MIREMCO, Hajia Hassiat Ozavize Suleiman, said although mining and mineral resources were on the exclusive list of the federal government, the Committee was “established to act as synergy between Federal Ministry of Mines Steel Development, state, local government areas, mineral title holders and host communities.”
Suleiman solicited the support of all stakeholders to actualise the Committee’s objectives in the areas of disputes arbitration and signing of community development agreements between companies and hostcommunities.