An expert in the solid mineral sector, Hamzat Lawal has called on the federal government to formalise the artisanal and small scale mining sector to address the environmental challenges usually caused by poor mining activities.
Lawal who is the co-creator of Connected Development (CODE), a non-profit organisation lamented that a lot of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), international donor groups and other development partners have not really shown interest in the sector due to the lack of framework to coordinate its activities.
He said over $8 billion is lost annually to smuggling of gold and other unethical mining practices in Nigeria due to poor regulation in the sector.
‘’We need to formalise them and bring them to the mainstream economy, recognise them as a formal sector and stop criminalising them and see how we can develop the ASMs value chain,’’ Lawal said. According to him, that way you are able to bring in the miners and strengthened them by building capacity and that way money goes back to the government.
He acknowledged that the federal government has embarked on a project under the auspices of the World Bank known as Sustainable Management of Mineral Resource that ended in 2012 to look at developing artisanal and small scale miners into co-operatives. ‘’But again it’s like a drop of water in an ocean we still need to do more to make sure that this sub-sector which is crucial for our development because it’s a livelihood option to see how we can develop and formalise it.’’
He explained that artisanal and small scale mining is a global phenomenon that has come to stay in Nigeria, blaming the increasing poverty rate and the raising global price for gold as the two cardinal driving factors that encourages the incessant and unlawful mining practices bedeviling sustainable living and development in Nigeria.No tags for this post.