Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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By Chris Mbunwe — Government has promised to sanction miners illegally extracting gold and iron ore in Misaje and Mayu – Binka Village in the Northwest Region. According to the Secretary General at the Northwest Governor’s Office, Absalom Monono, the war against illegal mining will also extend to people operating quarry business in the Northwest.

Absalom issued the warning during a one-day training seminar that held at the conference hall of Plan and Regional Development Northwest. He said a Prime Ministerial text regulating the sectors must be respected. “Whoever operates a quarry without authorisation, even on his own land, shall be liable to a fine of from FCFA 500.000 to FCFA 5 million, or serve imprisonment terms of 10 days to one year,” he warned.

According to him, the law stipulates that artisanal mining of quarry materials shall be free in the areas designated by the competent authorities of the Ministry of Mines, subject to the payment of Council Tax. The Northwest Delegate of Mines Industrial and Technological Development, Clement Alonjah, said wanton and illegal exploitation of local artisanal gold, iron ore and quarries across Northwest necessitated the seminar to train stakeholders in this sector.

He said quacks have invaded the mining sector in the Northwest, thereby bringing disorder. “These are fellows who have resisted control because they do not have any authorisation to operate,” he declared. Participants were drilled on the legislation governing the purchase, transportation, storage and usage of explosive detonators and accompanying materials.

First published in The Post print edition no 01434