abuja—The Federal Government has said it is working to develop a National Action Plan, NAP, to reduce the use of mercury in Nigeria.
Dr Abdukadir Muazu, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, said this in Abuja at a workshop for National Comprehensive Analysis of Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining Sector.
The capacity building was aimed at supporting the development of National Action Plan for Reduction of Mercury Use/Emission in Nigeria.
According to Muazu, the Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development and other stakeholders were working together to ensure possible elimination of use of mercury by artisanal miners across the country.
He said mercury was substantially used by Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining to extract gold from gold ore, noting that this process exposed them to mercury poisoning and also pollutes the environment.
Muazu said Artisanal and small scale gold mining was practiced in over seven states, including Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, FCT, Kwara and Osun.
“It is, therefore, safe to say that Nigeria has more than insignificant use of mercury in (ASGM) operations,” he said.
He said the training and ASGM assessment project would improve national capacity and capability for the management of the mercury in the sector.
At the event, Mr Jean Bakole, Regional Director and Country Representative for Nigeria and ECOWAS, UNIDO Regional Hub Nigeria, said artisanal and small scale gold mining was responsible for 37 per cent of the anthropogenic emission and releases of mercury into the environment.
Bakole, represented by Mr Yomi Banjo, environment expert, UNIDO, said that UNIDO had a history of working in the ASGM sector around the world and was implementing National Action Plan projects in several African countries.
“Our long standing cooperation with the Nigeria government to improve industrialisation and safeguard the environment is receiving another boost today.”
He congratulated the ministry for the sustainable structure put on ground for the sector.