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FG warns against illegal mining operations as another tunnel collapses

The Federal Government has warned against illegal mining operations and cautioned land owners against the activity.

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake, issued the warning in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Segun Tomori, on Saturday in Abuja.

The warning was issued in the aftermath of another incident of a mine collapse in Niger State, which reportedly claimed three lives.

The collapse occurred on Thursday at Bazakwoi, a village in Adunu community, Paikoro Local Government Area of Niger, where local miners were reportedly illegally mining for gold.

NAN recalls that a similar incident occurred on June 3 at Galadima Kogo, Shiroro LGA of Niger State, where more than 30 people were reportedly trapped.

According to the statement, owners of licenced units of land mined by illegal miners will lose their titles.

The minister stated that preliminary investigations showed that the collapsed mine was in an area under Exploration Licence 43113 of JURASSIC MINES Limited in Adunu Village, Paikoro Local Government Area, Niger State.

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It stated that an exploration licence was given to an applicant to confirm if the site was suitable for the proposed mineral exploration, but does not authorise the applicant to engage in mining.

While addressing the ministry’s response, Alake confirmed receiving news of the accident around 4:45 pm on Thursday, where three people died in a gold mining tunnel collapse at the site.

He further stated that inquiries revealed that the miners were operating illegally.

“The ministry promptly mobilised its mine officers, who arrived at the site around 6:15 pm.

“Officials were informed that three men were killed in the accident and have since been buried.

“At the time of the visit, work had stopped at the site, and only onlookers were seen. The coordinates of the site were taken, and officials returned to Minna at about 8.30 pm.

“The owners of the company were contacted by phone, but they claimed ignorance of happenings in the site. They were then summoned to the office in the state capital,” he said.

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The minister stated that he would communicate further developments as they unfold.(NAN)

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