A few indigenes are colluding with foreign criminals to plunder Nigeria’s mineral resources, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said.
Fayemi said this while addressing the people of Zurak in Wase Local Government of Plateau State.
On the orders of the National Security Adviser, 16 Chinese and eight Nigerians had been arrested in a major crackdown on illegal mining in Wase on Monday.
Following the arrest of the illegal miners, Fayemi spoke to members of the community on the need to watch the collective patrimony of the community and the country.
In the transcript of the speech made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday, the minister said only one company had been licenced to mine in the community.
The minister said, “The minority in your community are colluding with these criminal gangs that have taken over your land. Enough is enough.
“In our record, and by the special grace of God and the authority of Mr. President, it is my duty to sign all mining licences in Nigeria. No one else has that authority and I can tell you as I stand here that only one company has a mining lease in the whole of this area. That company is called Tongay.”
Although it was not indicated the minerals for which the illegal miners were arrested, the Zurak axis is said to be very rich in zinc and lead.
It is also said to be rich in other minerals such as copper, tin, tantalite and some other base metals.