Niger State is the leading destination for illegal mining of solid minerals in Nigeria, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative announced.
NEITI further stated that five other states including Plateau, Ebonyi, Imo, Enugu and Zamfara were among the leading destinations for illegal mining activities across the country.
The agency disclosed this in its latest report on improving transparency and governance for value optimisation in Nigeria’s mining sector.
It said out of the six states at the top of the illegal mining list, Niger had more illegal miners, with 10 illegal mining sites, adding that minerals such as gold, lead, zinc and tantalite were consistently mined illegally from the identified sites.
NEITI said Plateau State was next on the list with seven illegal mining sites found to be taking away tin, columbite, barites and zinc.
The agency went on to state that Ebonyi and Imo had five illegal mining sites, while Enugu and Zamfara had four sites from where lateritic soil, lead, zinc and gold were illegally taken.
The report also stated that there were no globally recognised mining major or minor companies in Nigeria’s mining industry, adding that international firms often shunned Nigeria’s mining sector because it currently does not look attractive to them.
It added that the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product had dwindled from about five per cent that it was in the 1960s and 1970s, to a mere 0.5 per cent at the moment.
NEITI said there were still obvious shortfalls especially with regards to governance and transparency in the mining sector despite the recent efforts of the Federal Government to revive the industry.
On revenue generation from the extractive industries between 2007 and 2016, a period of 10 years, the report stated that while the country’s oil and gas sector yielded to it $474bn, the solid minerals sector provided only $1.777bn.
It, however, noted that if the country was able to adequately harness up to 54 different minerals found across its states, the minerals could contribute to Nigeria’s national stock of foreign exchange and increase the country’s wealth.