The National Environmental Standard Regulation and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) says the mining sector will play a significant role in the Federal Government’s efforts to diversify and develop the nation’s economy.
The Coordinator of NESREA in Enugu state, Mr Pele Egbagiri, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Wednesday.
According to him, the large deposits of solid minerals across the nation are yet to be tapped.
He said that solid minerals like coal, gold tin, steal and others, when fully explored, would boost the nation’s economy and contribute significantly to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The coordinator said that investment in the mining sector was key and the only way to rescue Nigeria from operating a monoeconomy which would seriously affected the nation’s economy.
He urged the Federal Government to urgently design a comprehensive investment plan to explore the nation’s mining sector through massive investment in the solid minerals deposited in large amount across the country.
Egbagiri noted that illegal mining had become a recurring decimal that was capable of undermining the nation’s economy.
“It is not only prevalent in a particular state but rather it has become a common phenomenon in this nation.
“For instance,in Enugu State, with a huge deposit of coal, the federal government has abandoned coal mining leaving it for hoodlums who have engaged in the illegal mining of this very important solid mineral that is capable of giving power to the entire south east and beyond.
“These illegal miners engage in illegal business without considering the environmental hazards associated with unprofessional mining of coal.
“Their only interest is to make quick money at the detriment of the nation’s economy which is spent on a daily basis,” he said.
He said that the environmental hazards associated with mining activities in Enugu state were enormous and should be condemned in all ramifications.
The coordinator said that coal mining was known to be a very delicate process especially when mined in an unprofessional manner.
He listed the hazards associated with illegal coal mining to include landslide, earthquake and the emission of poisonous gas from the mining sites.
Egbagiri said that on several occasions,miners had lost their lives in the process.
“Most times they are buried alive, especially when necessary precautionary measures are not applied or strictly adhered to”. (NAN)