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Cross River State Initiates Action Against Illicit Mining

In a bid to increase state revenue derived from legitimate mining activities, the Cross River State Government has declared its intention to crack down on illicit mining practices within the State.

Effiom-Ekaha Otu, the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, in collaboration with the Chairman of the Mineral Resources and Environmental Committee (MIREMCO), have extended advocacy campaigns to rural communities to garner local support.

The Mineral Resources Commissioner emphasized that the primary goal is to block illicit miners while maximizing the state revenue generated from legal mining operations and allocate it towards infrastructure development and socio-economic progress.

During a series of meetings held in Obudu, Akamkpa, Obanliku, Yala, Biase, Obubra, and other regions, Otu underscored the significant economic and environmental harm caused by illicit mining. He emphasized that such actions contravene federal mining regulations and that the state, in cooperation with the federal government, plans to prosecute offenders.

Otu highlighted the severe consequences on agricultural land, water sources, and public health due to illicit mining. He expressed deep concern over the exploitation of local youth in dangerous mining activities, often leading to injuries or fatalities without any form of compensation.

The Commissioner urged traditional leaders, as custodians of the land, to reject offers from illicit miners and report such activities to the authorities.

He assured that legal mining operations, on the other hand, would benefit both the state and local communities by adhering to proper regulations and ensuring fair compensation.

Conversely, Engr. Ibem Uduma from the Federal Ministry of Solid Minerals Development encouraged communities to ensure that mining agreements are transparent and involve key stakeholders, including security personnel and government officials.

Similarly, Dr. Otu Archibong, the State Chairman of MIREMCO, stressed the importance of communities verifying government approval for any mineral exploration. He outlined the requisite legal procedures, such as environmental and social impact assessments, licensing, and rehabilitation plans.

Community leaders and youth representatives expressed their support for the government's initiatives and pledged cooperation to combat illicit mining. They also appealed to the government to create employment opportunities to alleviate economic pressures driving illicit mining activities.

The state government's initiative aims to regularize mining operations, safeguard the environment, and substantially increase revenue from legal mining activities. This additional revenue will be channeled towards enhancing infrastructure and fostering socio-economic development for the benefit of the people of Cross River State.

Nsa Gill
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor