Saturday, September 18, 2021

Don To FG: Give Back To Artisanal Miners, Mining Communities

Artisanal miners.
Artisanal miners.

A senior fellow institutioner for development studies, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Dr. Ben Nwosu, has tasked the Federal Government to give back to artisanal miners and do more in terms of public good provision for the local mining communities.

He made the call during the media launch of a new publication titled ‘Solid Minerals Development in Nigeria: Evidence from Ebonyi, Ekiti and Taraba states’ by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (CentreLSD) with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in Abuja.

Nwosu, a principal partner at NODAC Consultant, averred that returns from mining fees should be used to improve the operational environment to enable industry develop, urging government to ‘tax more and provide more’.

“Government should provide extension services. Our survey reveals that government has done less for these artisanal miners in terms of technical assistance and support services. Our survey shows that many mining communities are generally dissatisfied with the practice of community engagement by miners. For instance, mining communities in Taraba State do not have community development agreement (CDAs). And even in mining communities in the states such as Ebonyi and Ekiti where CDAs exists, community leader’s express dissatisfaction with the extent of implementation of those CDAs.

“Some community leaders have the impression that their communities ought to get more benefit from the mining in terms of statutory revenue allocation.

“We found out that most of the artisanal miners in Taraba and Ebonyi states operate without mining licences while those in Ekiti State either have mining licence or operating through a cooperative permit. Artisanal miners do not process the minerals before selling them, and they sell to anyone willing to buy.

“In Ebonyi and Ekiti states, mining activities by underage children are limited, while the roles of the women are limited to the processing stage, which include crushing, grinding, sieving, washing, panning, among others,” he said.

Earlier, CentreLSD executive director, Mr. Monday Osasah, said the centre’s concept was to strengthen civic engagement and advocacy for effective natural resources’ governance.

The objective of the media launch, he pointed out, was to make public the outcome of the research and to make it accessible to the stakeholders in the solid minerals sector, adding the research examined the drive for non-oil revenues, and how it would play out with existing solid minerals development law and possible sub national governments’ interests in the mining sector.

“Research is ongoing looking at the forms of gender-based violence in the extracting sector and to support government in having data in the areas that will implement this mining project,” he added.

Oluchi Okorafor
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