Legalise Illegal Mining Activities To Save The Sector – Don
London, Oct. 31, 2017 (AltAfrika)-A Nigerian Professor of Mining Engineering at the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) wants indigenous illegal miners to be accommodated and addressed as artisan miners and their papers formalised by ministry of mines, steel and development to avoid quackery in the industry.
According to him, Nigeria in this trying period would benefit financially from the sector. “This is the time for government to co-opt illegal miners into the main stream of the business by formalising their papers through the Ministry in charge of the money spinning sector in the country efforts at diversifying economy”, he said
Speaking on the contributions of mining to national development in his office in Akure, Professor Zacchaeus Opafunso, who is the first Nigerian of Professor in Mining Engineering said agriculture and mining were the two earliest human endeavors which ranked together as the primary industries of early civilisation and till date still contribute more than 90 percent of the raw materials for industries all over the world.
Professor Opafunso added that mining is a veritable source of wealth creation and socio economic development and has played significant roles in the existence of the human race, especially in enhancing civilizations as cultural eras have been identified by various minerals such as the stone age, bronze age, iron age, steel age and nuclear age.
He however disclosed that despite the economic potentials embedded in mining, the industry also posed great threat to human society by creating explosive induced environmental problems which include serious health issues such as leukemia, cancer and eye diseases, extinction of some animal issues, distortion of the soil landscape, poor agricultural productivity and oil and gas pollution.
He explained that the rate explosives meant for mining, blasting of rocks, demolition of unused buildings and military use find their way to the hands of terrorists who use it to bomb churches, mosques, residential buildings and airplanes to mention a few need to be curtailed.
Speaking on solution to the danger posed by the sector, Prof. Opafunso said that the policing structure of Nigerian land and sea borders should be re-evaluated and strengthened for better performance in order to check the rate of smuggled explosives into the country.
He urged the relevant agencies like the the customs, police and federal mines to pay more attention to matters relating to importation, procurement, transportation, storage and usage of explosive materials at all times to reduce the impact of negative use of such explosives.
According to him, Nigeria had a progressive rate of increase in civilian casualties between 2010 and 2015 moving to the fourth position of countries with highest civilian casualties in 2015.
Opafunso also proposed that mine site surveillance services should be introduced and well-funded by the government and that the ministry of mines and steel development should have extension service offices in all states of the federation to complement the work of the federal mine offices.
He called for more operational vehicles and adequate funding for federal mines offices for effective monitoring and recording of all blasting operations and explosive consumption in Nigeria.
Opafunso said business owners should recognize hazardous chemicals in their product inventory, report missing or stolen products and report suspicious or unusual purchase to relevant authorities to curtail the danger the sector posed.