FG trains artisanal miners on safer techniques


The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has trained hundreds of artisanal and small scale miners on personal safety and environmental protection.
The training was part of a three-day tour of gold mines at Ibodi, Ilesha, Osun State on Friday.
Participants were trained on several aspects of health and environmental issues in mining that could hamper mining activities and the growth of host communities.
The training came barely two months after government announced plans to commence a Gold Purchase Scheme aimed at increasing revenue accruable from the country’s abundant gold deposit, using Osun and Kebbi States as pilot for the project.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, while announcing government’s plans to commence the gold scheme in December said the project include training and equipping of artisanal miners, provision of extension services and off-take of all gold produced by participants in the scheme.
Certificates were awarded to the miners after the training while protective clothing and gadgets were also given to them for their safety.
One of the trainers, a health and safety professional, Dr. Adebola Odunsi, said the federal government discovered that artisanal miners were engaging in practices which exposed them and host communities with gold deposit to health and environmental hazards.
Odunsi said the FG was determined to stop these harmful practices and promote safer mining which would be beneficial to the miners, the people in their host communities and the nation at large.
He advised them against digging without wearing protective clothing, adding that they must stop the use of chemicals such as mercury and cyanide in their mining activities in order not to expose themselves to grave health issues and pollution of the rivers as well as the flora and fauna.
The medical expert said poor mining activities could lead to serious health conditions such as infertility, severe cough, itching, and can also damage internal organs like the kidneys and the liver. “So you must do everything to protect yourself and the environment.”
He stressed that operating in a safer environment would boost the productivity of the miners, which in turn would lead to better revenue.
“We want you to start safer mining from now on, this will guarantee your wellbeing, it will prevent environmental pollution and the host communities and the nation will be better for it.
He added that miners should always wear helmet, goggles, face mask, overall, hand gloves, and boots. You must wear these before you start digging and you must not wear them at home.
“Make sure you remove the protective clothing; take a bath and wear neat clothes back home after work. This is very important. If you go back home with the dust from the site, you can cause trouble for yourself and the people in the community.
He urged them to always “make sure that you cover up every hole you dug while searching for gold. If you divert a river to another place while digging make sure you return it back to its normal course after your activities.
A former President, Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers, Mr. Olusegun Oladipo, commends government’s initiative, stressing that there was the need to teach the over one million informal miners how to carry out their activities in such way that their activities would not further destroy the environment.
Nigeria a world mining destination
– Minister The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has reiterated that the visible reforms in the mining sector has helped to reposition the sector as a major revenue earner and a mining destination of choice for investors.
Dr. Fayemi said this at the opening session of a policy and capacity building workshop for senior officials of the ministry, professionals and stakeholders in the mining industry, organized in partnership with the Australian government on Monday.
The minister who was represented at the workshop by the Permanent Secretary Dr. Muazu Abdulkadir, stated that the mining sector was being positioned to contribute optimally to diversifying the Nigeria economy’s revenue base and creating jobs and economic opportunity for the nation as captured in the Roadmap for the growth and development of the mining industry.
He noted that the mining sector contribution to the country’s economic growth grew by 0.55% as at 2017.
“The mining sector also grew by 2.24% and achieved a 300% increase in revenue (royalty and fees) between 2015 and 2016 and as at November 2017 the sector had already surpassed the entire revenue of about N2billion generated for the whole of 2016, with over N3.5billion contributed to the federation account.
He said Nigeria has also “moved up an unprecedented 24 steps in the World Bank’s Ease-of-Doing-Business ranking, and was adjudged one of the 10 top reforming economies.
According to the minister, the Nigerian mining jurisdiction is now considered to have a better investment risk profile than several other leading jurisdictions and among the best in Africa.
Speaking on the workshop themed: “Policy and Capacity Building Workshop for a Successful and Sustainable Mining Sector 2018”, he said that it was a follow up to the first edition that took place in 2016, which focused on the significance of transparency, legislation, and regulatory framework as well as geoscience and resource information.
He said the workshop would provide officials of the ministry and other stakeholders essential knowledge as well a great opportunity to share experiences on both technical and regulatory issues.
You’ve no biz in mining operations, MAN tells govs
The Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has decried state government’s interference in operations of licensed mining operators in their states.
MAN stressed that only the federal government has statutory powers to sanction erring, illegal or unlicensed mining operations through the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
MAN national president, Mr. Sani Shehu made the outcry while addressing journalists recently in Abuja on alleged closure of mining companies operating in Ebonyi, including Greenfield Metals Ltd., a mining company operating in Ishiagu, Ivo Local Government Area of Ebonyi on the orders of the state government.
He said clampdown on mining operations, arrest and detention of workers including expatriates in these companies would affect the government’s economic diversification strategies.
According to him, Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution put mining in the exclusive legislative list of the Nigeria constitution therefore state do not have jurisdiction on mining operations.
“Mining sector is under the exclusive list of Nigerian constitution and what this means is that only the federal government can grant mining licenses, can collect revenue, can monitor and regulate mining operations.
“Where the mineral and mining acts are violated, they can take action and the actions have been stipulated in the act and exercised on behalf of federal government by the Federal Ministry of Mine and Steels Development.
“They can take offenders to court, in fact federal government has total control and right over mining activities in the country,” Sani said.
He stressed that no state government had the mandate, power or authority to stop mining company with approved mining license from the ministry from operating in any part of the country.
He said any act contrary to the laid down rules and guidelines buried in the Constitution and the Mining Act will only discourage investors and foreign partners in the mining sectors.
He said under Minerals and Mining Act, mines offices in states exercise powers on behalf of the federal government and invested with powers to seal mining companies without operational license.
Sani who also decried alleged collection of mining revenues, disruption of mining activities and closure of mining sites by some state governments called for federal government’s sanction against such state governments.
He added that mining companies were required by mining and mineral act to pay revenues to the federal government, while the solid minerals producing states receive 13 percent derivation from accruals from solid minerals.
He said the association would adopt all legitimate measures to protect the interest of their members and stop the harassment, intimidation and closure of their mining operations by state governments.

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