The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development has concluded a three-day tour of gold mines at Ibodi, Ilesha, Osun State and training of hundreds of artisanal and small scale miners on personal safety and environmental protection.
Participants were taken through trainings on several aspects of health and environmental issues in mining. Certificates were awarded to the miners after the training while protective clothing and gadgets were also given to them for their safety.
The training came barely two months after government announced plans to commence a Gold Purchase Scheme aimed at increasing revenue accruable from the country’s abundant gold deposit, using Osun and Kebbi States as pilot for the project.
One of the trainers, a health and safety professional, Dr. Adebola Odunsi, said the Federal Government discovered that artisanal miners were engaging in practices which exposed them and host communities with gold deposit to health and environmental hazards.
He advised them against digging without wearing protective clothing, adding that they must stop the use of chemicals such as mercury and cyanide in their mining activities in order not to expose themselves to grave health issues and pollution of the rivers as well as the flora and fauna.
A former President, Nigerian Society of Mining Engineers, Mr. Olusegun Oladipo, at the training sites, launded government’s initiative, stressing that there was the need to teach the over one million informal miners how to carry out their activities in such way that their activities would not further destroy the environment.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, had while announcing government’s plans to commence a Gold Purchase Scheme last December, said the project was aimed at increasing revenue accruable from the country’s abundant gold deposit.The scheme, according to the Minister, include training and equipping of artisanal miners, provision of extension services and off-take of all gold produced by participants in the scheme.