In furtherance of the ongoing efforts by the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) towards transforming the mining sector and in addressing the negative externalities associated with Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining (ASM) in the country, the Ministry has organized a technical Workshop on Survey, Mapping and formalisation of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners for field officers of the Ministry.
The one-day technical meeting/workshop which took place in Abuja on Tuesday, had in attendance, Zonal and State Mining Officers of the Ministry across the Country.
In his keynote address, the Permanent Secretary, Mr Mohammed Abbas who spoke through the Acting Director, Special Duties, Mr Olayiwola Adebayo, said that the Nigerian Mining space is dominated by Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining (ASM) which are hardly formalized and are enmeshed in numerous illicit activities such as, mineral commodity, smuggling, illegal mining, environmental pollution, use of child labour, none payment of royalties, social conflicts and crimes.
He made reference to the recent lead poisoning in Zamfara State and more recently in Niger State, and attributed the ugly incidents to the fallouts of poorly regulated artisanal mining activities. He believed that the challenges in regulation of ASM activities were due to the chaotic environment under which artisanal miners operate.
Besides inadequate logistics for effective regulation of illegal mining, he also mentioned lack of sufficient information on the Nigeria’s ASM sector as another challenge. “Lack of sufficient data has adversely impacted effective management, planning, policies and regulation of the sub sector” he added.
Mr. Abbas said that the brainstorming sessions at the technical meeting would bring about best strategies for the effective take-off of the mapping and survey of
artisanal miners and mining locations across the country. This, he added would enable the generation of useful information such as the demographics of the artisanal miners, organization structure, mineral production outputs, gender, child labour involvements, mineral trading and supply chain analysis amongst others.
Earlier in his speech, the host Director, Artisanal & Small-Scale Mining (ASM), Mr Patrick Ojeka said the workshop was proposed to elicit best approach to addressing the negative attributes of ASM whilst supporting measures to upgrade its positive consequences.
He added that the workshop is “a needed platform to engender synergy amongst the various technical departments of the Ministry to work harmoniously in ensuring that adequate data are gathered about ASM activities across the states of the federation for policy making and implementation”.
Admitting that controlling the complications arising from ASM activities was not an easy task, Ojeka said that formalization was the first step towards effective control of ASM activities considering its huge impact on the environment and economy of the country.
He noted that facilitating a more effective control and formalisation strategies requires ingenious synergies and collaborations.
In his presentation on Survey and Mapping of Informal Miners across the country, Ojeka said the registration of mining companies was necessary in order to sanitize the mines field for control and easy monitoring by relevant government agencies, generate income and employment in the rural areas through Mining Cooperatives, reduce and control environmental degradation amongst others.
Deputy Director (Press)