The Federal Government has commissioned a United States based environmental expert to train miners and stakeholders on the evaluation of mine sites safety.
The safety expert was engaged in order to forestall reoccurrence of lead poisoning. It could be recalled that more than 400 children lost their lives to lead poison about two years ago.
Speaking in Abuja during a workshop on data gathering techniques in artisanal and small scale mining sites with dangerous and hazardous materials, the Environmental Project Coordinator, Occupational Knowledge International, Ms. Kate Durand, said it had become very important to take mine site evaluation seriously before carrying out mining activities.
Durand, who was commissioned to tour the whole country for this purpose, explained that the workshop, put together by the Federal Government and sponsored by the Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project, would help the miners and the communities to know more about the health hazards associated with mining, and ways to avoid them.
She said, “From what I have seen, I think the government has been doing a lot to ensure that what happened in Zamfara does not repeat itself in any other state. In spite of this, I think the government still has to do more. The essence of this workshop is to teach those in the mining industry and other stakeholders on environmental matters the importance of evaluating identified mine sites before engaging in mining activities.”
“Through this workshop, the participants are expected to learn how to evaluate mine sites for safety. The Nigerian government is working to improve the situation but it has to do more because the miners are determined to do their job in a safer environment but they certainly do not have the technology to work things out perfectly. They have the necessary facilities to improve the situation but no necessary technology to make everything go away.”
The environment expert, who identified Artisanal and Small scale Mining (ASM) as an important economic activity in many rural areas of the country, said it constituted over 95 per cent of mining activity in Nigeria, adding that ASM activities could lead to significant exposures to metals that are present in the ore that are associated with chronic and acute health impacts.
“Such operations are also a potential source of extensive environmental contamination through discharges to air and water. In addition, waste products including mine tailing may contain significant concentration of metal that can be a source of human exposures,” she said.
Filed Under: Mining