Chinese, Indian Firms Illegally Mining Nigeria’s Solid Minerals

Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (NEITI) has disclosed that Chinese and Indian
companies have been involved in illegal mining of
Nigeria’s solid mineral deposits across the country.
Chairman of the National Stakeholders Working Group
(NSWG) of NEITI, Mr. Ledum Mitee, confirmed at the
presentation of the inaugural audit report on Nigeria’s
solid mineral sector, which was commissioned and
released weekend in Abuja that several illegal artisanal
operations in Nigeria’s solid mineral sector were being
sponsored by Chinese and Indian companies but with
support from local authorities.

Mitee noted that base-line information gathered from
scoping studies that were conducted earlier in the
sector, revealed discrepancies in government receipts
and operating companies’ payments within the periods.
He expressed regrets that illegal mining has continued
to thrive in the sector as a result of an apparent lack
of regulation.

He said the illegal miners “engage local artisans and
government authorities to do this at ridiculously low
rates and export to make extreme profits but NEITI
will all the required provide information to enforcement
agencies with which they can use to hunt down such
firms in the sector.”

Mitee stated that the Nigerian government got about
N54.5 billion from 2007 to 2010 as revenue from
payments made by companies in the forms of
royalties, ground rents/annual surface rents, taxation
and levies.

According to him, the domination of the solid mineral
sector by construction companies and cement
manufacturers was unhealthy to a sector that should
attract full time investment with capacity to generate
good number of employment opportunities.

He explained that the activities of artisanal miners
were actually not captured in the audit, considering
their somewhat mode of operation, which proved quite
challenging in garnering whatever payments received
by the government from them.

“It is NEITI’s firm belief that the time for Nigeria to
fully embrace the development of the solid minerals
sector of the extractive industry is now, we
successfully undertook a scoping study in the solid
minerals sector which confirms that all notable
minerals are available in commercial quantity in all
states, local government and communities in Nigeria
starting from gold, bitumen, diamond, salt, coal, iron
ore, limestone, lead and zinc and the country can
benefit in revenue from them,” Mitee said.

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