Osun mining: Reps move to ascertain number of licensed operators

The House of Representatives has expressed concern over the raising spate of illegal mining in the Ijesa area of Osun state, thereby moving to ascertain the actual number of licensed operators.

To this end, the House Wednesday mandated its committee on Solid Minerals Development to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, to ascertain the authorised and licensed miners within Ijesha south federal constituency of the state.

This was the fallout of a motion by Hon. Babatunde Ayeni, who stated that the Nigeria Mineral and Mining Act of 2007, prohibits all forms of unauthorised exploration of mineral resources, but that there have been “reported cases of illegal mining activities going on in Ijesha South federal constituency of Osun state”.

The lawmaker said llesa, which is part of Ijeshaland, is known to have large deposits of gold in commercial quantities and other minerals in considerable proportions. He added that it was worrisome that over the past few years, certain individuals and unverified companies have embarked on exploration activities across Ijeshaland, and their activities have caused untold hardship to the villagers who have been forcefully displaced and dispossessed of their lands by the miners.”
He said the excavation of the area may expose the people to environmental hazards/natural disaster such as landslide, earthquakes, erosion, formation of sinkholes, loss of biodiversity and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals released during the mining processes.

He submitted that if necessary measures are not put in place to check illegal mining, “it may result in the breakdown of law and order as the original inhabitants of Ijeshaland who are being deprived access to their heritages may embark on self-help to recover their lands.”