By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to provide geological records of Gold deposits in Nigeria, and mandated the Committee on Solid Minerals Development to ensure compliance.
The House resolution followed the adoption of a motion on the: “Need to Prioritize Gold Mining as one of the Major Earners of Revenue to the Nation” moved by Oghene Egoh (APC, Lagos) at Tuesday plenary.
Presenting the motion, the Lawmaker recalled that on 7 April 2019, the Federal Government banned all mining activities in Zamfara State and directed all foreigners operating in the mining fields to leave within 48 hours, threatening to revoke the license of any recalcitrant mining operator.
He said the House is aware that Nigeria has about 21.40 tons of gold deposits and therefore there is the need for many large scale gold mining companies, gold mining policies, state of the art geological survey, including map production and maintenance of up to date geological records, health and safety inspections and maintenance records, legal records of licences and legal examination of new applications, among others;
According to him, the House also, “recalls a publication in This Day Newspaper that Nigeria loses about $9 billion (nine billion dollars) to illegal mining every year and that many lives are lost as a result of mining activities that ignore environmental protection policies.
“Also aware of official records that mining in Nigeria accounts for a mere 0.3% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), meaning that the Federal Government may not have official records of the amount of mineral deposits in Nigeria which if ascertained, could make the mineral sector one of the largest contributors to Government’s revenues through the payment of royalties, employees income taxes and corporate taxes.
“Concerned that though Gold is found in large quantities in Zamfara State, illegal miners cart away billions of dollars’ worth of gold yearly, leaving the State with poor state of education and inadequate healthcare system.
“Acknowledges that if the resources are effectively managed by the Government, 30% derivation from gold earnings can go a long way in boosting the economy of Zamfara State while the remaining 70% can go into the federation account.
“Desirous of the need for the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, whose responsibilities are to promote full-scale gold mining in Nigeria, facilitate interaction between mining employers, examine mining policy issues, create partnerships with key stakeholders and to come up with modernized and conducive policies, legislative and functional environment to facilitate real investments in gold mining”.