Over 1000 illegal mining sites are said to be existing in Nigeria through activities that promote illicit financial outflows, thereby denying the country of highly needed income from its rich natural resources.

The country was said to have lost about $9billion in two years on illegal mining particularly on gold exportation.

The Federal Government on Thursday inaugurated the Special Mines Surveillance Task Force and the State Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee to combat the menace of illegal mining in the country.

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The task force was equipped with 40 Hilux pick-up vans as operation vehicles.

At the inauguration in Abuja, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, said the policing of mines across the country began during the colonial era because of the prevalence of illegal mining.

He said the Special Mines Surveillance Task Force and MIREMCO were critical to the sustainable development of the mining sector in the country.

The minister added that the first 15 states with functional MIREMCOs had already received the sum of N5m each as mobilisation grants and 10 Hilux pick-up vehicles.

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