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Spotlight on artisanal and small-scale miners in their time to shine

During a session in Nigeria Mining Week’s Digital Event, ‘Formalising ASM: The urgent need to formulate adequate policies’, panellists indirectly agreed that ASM will be a crucial element of building Nigeria’s economy as the country moves away from relying on a mono-economy.

Formalising ASM is crucial to this national ambition. In the current unregulated environment several issues surround the informal mining, such as:

  • Safety
  • Conflict
  • Child labour
  • Unmeasured volumes of final product

It is estimated that gold worth US$1.3 billion has been smuggled to Dubai in the last 24 months. This completes the dark, and largely unknown, path of the final product to market.

In addition, Nigeria has haemorrhaged significant value of tin and lead to illegal trading.

Informal exports indicate tremendous potential: $2.2-billion worth of gold, tin and lead illegally exported out of Nigeria from 2016-2018.

Throughout the digital event so far, participants have highlighted the vast economic value through mineral endowment estimated to be between US$700 billion to US$1 trillion.

Up to 60 Moz of gold falls into this estimate – a cause for concern as gold ASM has doubled in size in the last five years.

With this scenario laid out it has never been as clear that the future of mining in Nigeria, and indeed its role in building the economy, must be formalised as soon as possible.

A mining industry firing on all cylinders will unlock employment opportunities, higher levels of education and experience through adequate training and safer sites.

The public and private sectors have everything to gain through a collaborative singing from the hymn sheets, as they are inextricably linked by unsecured gains within ASM.