The Federal Government of Nigeria has partnered with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and Global Environment Facility to develop a proposal to eliminate mercury in Nigeria’s artisanal and small scale gold mining sector.
The Regional Director, UNIDO, Jean Bakole made the announcement and noted that artisanal and small scale gold mining had been responsible for 37% of the entropogenic emissions and releases of mercury into the environment. The percentage emission is a threat to health and safety across the country.
“Over 90% of Nigeria’s mining sector was characterized by artisanal and small scale mining. Because of the rudimentary ways of carrying out mining and mineral processing activities, there had been so much indiscriminate use of chemicals and the exposure of these chemicals in mining sites and communities,” said Bakole.
Mercury free technologies
“The target of this project is to also enhance formalization in the artisanal and small scale gold mining sector, increase access to finance and financial inclusion. The project will further enhance the uptake of mercury free technologies and improve knowledge sharing, as well as boost local capacity across states in Nigeria,” he added.
He stated that the development of GEF Planet Gold project would strengthen UNIDO’s collaboration with Nigeria’s mining industry and the environment sector.
“For us at UNIDO, we will continue to support the country in ensuring that the environment is protected, lives are preserved and our mining industries are sustainably developed and run,” he stated.
The Director, Department of Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, Charles Ikeah, stated that the goal of the project was in line with government’s priority to protect human lives and environment.
“The project would effectively implement the provisions of the Minamata Convention on mercury and position the country’s mining sector for economic growth. The validation workshop had provided the necessary platform to finalise the project document before its submission to the GEF for final approval and commencement,” said Ikeah.