Agence France-Presse

The export of minerals from Nigeria grew by 565 per cent between 2016 and 2017, experts have said.

As part of his closing remark at the end of the just concluded two-day 2nd International Conference on Lead Poisoning Associated with Artesanal Gold Mining in Nigeria with Special Focus on Prevention, the Operations Manager, Medecins Sans Frontiers (a.k.a, Doctors Without Borders), Benoit de Gryse, who affirmed the revelation recalled that participants were made to understand that 90 per cent of the exports from the mining sector are mined through Artesanal and Small-Scale Miners (ASM)’s activities.

“Talking about economic potential, we also learnt that between 2016 and 2017 the export of minerals from Nigeria grew by a staggering 565 per cent. 90 per cent of these exports are mined through ASM activities,” he said.

Gryse who was saying this to buttress the importance of the potentials in mining to the Nigerian economy stressed the need to address the lead poisoning scourge proactively by focusing on prevention which he said could be achieved through inter-ministerial collaboration and integration of the artesanal and small scale miners into the process.

He said, “I want to reiterate that a national strategy can and should not bypass either the communities or the miners themselves, especially those in remote areas, who might be difficult to reach. Not only do we need to meet them in their context, their culture.

“As was stated, artesanal mining is driven by poverty. Miners should be able to enjoy their work while contributing to the development of their country. Proper awareness on the risks of unsafe mining and tools for safer mining and support for remediation will empower them.”

On his part, the Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bawa-Bwari, while declaring the 2-day brainstorming session closed, thanked both the national and international participants for their fruitful contributions, urging all stakeholders to lay their hands on the plough in the quest to implement the recommendations made and assuring that government on its part would not fail in ensuring that mining regain its pride of place in terms of productivity.

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