The Director, Technical, Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, Dr Dieter Bassi, has reported that Nigeria is losing $2bn-$3bn to illegal mining.
The Director made the announcement during a town hall meeting on the dangers of foreign illegal mining in Nigeria. According to Bassi, the activities of artisan miners are unregulated and reckless, not just harming the environment but also making the country lose revenue.
“The activities of artisan miners are unregulated, which means we cannot know how much they are taking out of the country in terms of quantity and quality. There is a high gap due to the indigenisation policy, with artisan miners filling this vacuum. They mine recklessly. In fact, they are just scratching the surface, and actual mineralisation is under. Because of the level of mining they are doing, it affects the environment.
“Only a few buy these minerals from artisan miners. The mineral buying centres are just centres, whereby they just pass up these minerals and are exported without proper documentation and royalty being paid on these minerals,” said Dr Bassi.
Due to the porous nature of the country’s borders, many people come from other countries to engage in illegal mining and exports. Artisan miners are mostly scavengers rolling on the surface and being given stipends. Most times, it is the middlemen that profit from these things.
“In terms of revenue loss, the mining sector contributes less than one per cent of the GDP because of these activities. But if the actual activities were captured, it would have huge revenue gainers for this country. Presently, we are losing about $2-$3bn from mining if we do it very well,” he added.