Samuel Bello, Abuja
The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to enhance the effectiveness of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners (ASM) in the country.
According to Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, artisanal miners presently get less than their products are worth, while government is cheated of the revenue that should accrue to its coffers in the form of taxes and other finances.
The minister, who stated this in Abuja during the First National Stakeholders’ Discourse on the opportunities and challenges of artisanal mining in Nigeria, said the government is more than ever before determined to ensure better policing of artisanal miners by the newly constituted Mine Police.
Bwari said, “We have also increased the monitoring capacity of our mine inspectorate with the recent purchase of new vehicles, while the formalisation policy of the ministry has led to the registration of more artisanal miners into mining cooperatives.
“This year alone, the ministry has provided training to over 250 members of these cooperatives across the country.
Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, said there is no alternative to building a sustainable artisanal mining industry without a broad, multi-stakeholder concerned efforts and coalition involving governments, private sector, academia and Non Governmental Organisations (NGO).
Represented by Deputy Director Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Olubunmi Olusanya, added that Artisanal and Small Scale Miners operations have been given little or no consideration to safety, health and environmental protection issues in the country.
“We have been collaborating with the ministry of health and ministry of mines and steel development to develop a National Action Plan on Mercury Use in the Nigerian Artisanal Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector.
“The goal of the project is to improve National capacity and capability for the management of mercury and associated pollutants and lead in the ASGM sector,” he said.