The Ministry of Mines and Steel said it will spend five billion dollars to reclaim more than 1,600 abandoned mine sites across the country.

This was disclosed by Mr Salim Salaam, Director, Mines Environmental Compliance Department in an interview with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

Salaam said the sites were generated during the colonial era when there were no laws backing mining operations in Nigeria.

He said the ministry had however, prioritised 40 critical areas that posed danger to lives and properties for the reclamations.

“ In 2007, when the ministry developed first National Implementation plan, 100 sites were proposed for reclamation at the cost of six billion naira,” he said.

“20 sites have been fully reclaimed with some being used for holiday resort, recreational parks, garden and other economic purposes.

“Some of the abandoned mine sites have become nuisance to human beings, animal and motorists.

“Water from the ponds are being used by farmers for irrigation and this is dangerous to health.”

Salaam said the ministry has earmarked a critical site in Bariki Ladi in Jos, for reclamation in its 2017 capital vote due to its threat to the community.

He also said that the ministry would conduct a survey on ponds being used for irrigations to ascertain how many contained toxic elements.

Mining started in Plateau State in 1902.

The British developed a robust tin, columbite, and associated minerals exploitation during the colonial era.

These abandoned mining ponds now causes a lot of hazard to the residents, where dozens of people have been drown into the deep unmanned ponds.

Unconfirmed reports have it that the mining ponds today have radioactive elements, making them death traps.

 

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