The Federal Government (FG) has launched the country’s first International Gemstone Market in Ibadan, Oyo State, and also warned against illegal mining. Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite said, “Mining is governed by rules and laws. What is happening at Okeho, Oyo State, as referred to by the traditional ruler, is nothing but an act of illegality.
“The 2007 Mining Act only recognizes families and individuals as rightful owners of acquired mining sites, not traditional rulers. It is based on this that exploration, not mining licenses, are issued to the aforementioned groups of people. Traditional rulers can only advice, not playing a principal role.
“What is going on in some localities is an illegal act and the government will deal decisively with anybody caught irrespective of his or her position.”
According to him, the newly launched gemstone market would improve the downstream gemstone and gold mining industries, increasing the employment rate in all business-related activities of the gemstone mining cluster, it would provide training to local artisans and traders, among other benefits.