He also accused them of being behind illegal mining in the country.
Alake spoke at the National Assembly when he appeared before the House Committee on Solid Minerals to defend the Ministry’s 2024 budget estimate.
The minister said the Tinubu administration is already identifying those individuals and will take appropriate action against them.
“One discovery that we have made is that a lot of these insecurities and banditry associated with this sector are sponsored by illegal miners,” he said.
“These are not your artisan miners. They are not the people who pick gold on the ground. These are heavy and powerful individuals in our country. They are Nigerians and not foreigners.”