Mining in Nigeria is the process by which solid minerals and other useful substances are extracted from the earth. The geological survey of Nigeria has indicated the presence of over 34 minerals that are currently being mined in more than 450 locations spread all over the country. The development of the mining subsector of the Nigerian economy will create more jobs for citizens of the country. Currently, individuals and companies currently engaged in mining activities in the country are facing various challenges and some of these are discussed here.
PROBLEMS OF MINING IN NIGERIA
For mining companies and agencies to be able to effectively carry out their operations, certain basic amenities must be put in place by the government. Good road networks, constant power supply, and even water supply are important to mining activities hence the government must ensure these facilities are put in place for smooth running of mining operations.
The Nigerian mining sector is currently dominated by small-scale miners who lack sufficient funding to expand their business, the insufficient fund stands as one of the key problems of mining in Nigeria. Many of these miners rely on crude methods and equipment to carry out their operations and these methods would not yield much in terms of reward for them.
Non-Availability Of Accurate Geological Data
The information currently available on minerals found in Nigeria as well as localities where they can be found is insufficient. There is still a heavy reliance on data obtained over 50 years ago.
Non-Availability Of Well-Equipped Laboratories
Well-equipped laboratories are necessary for more research to be carried out on these minerals. This is necessary especially in the exploration for new locations that contain minerals as well as the processing and beneficiation of these minerals after extraction to increase their grade.
High Risk And Health Hazard
Mining naturally is a risky venture but in Nigeria, the risk level is even much higher than in many other countries of the world where technological advancement and better methods have lowered the risk involved.
The mining industry in Nigeria is still not well regulated. This has made it really easy for illegal miners to operate. Ministry officials charged with overseeing this industry are underequipped for the job.
Activities Of Illegal Miners
In order not to pay government taxes, many small-scale and artisanal miners’ resort to illegal mining operations. A significant percentage of mining operations in Nigeria are carried out illegally.
Lack Of Proper Legislation And Inconsistent Government Policies
Over the years, lack of proper legislation and constant shifting in position of the government on matters affecting the mining industry has scared away prospective investors.
The productivity of our mines is still very low due to the use of old equipment and mining methods. Most of our mining operations are still being carried out by artisanal miners who cannot afford to purchase expensive modern equipment to carry out their work. They have to rely on the use of crude implements like digger and spade to dig the ground.
SOLUTIONS TO SOME OF THE PROBLEMS OF MINING IN NIGERIA
The government should ensure it provides basic amenities such as potable water, good roads, constant power supply all over the country. Availability of these facilities will boost mining activities in the country
Loan facilities are not easily obtained by mining companies and this has hindered the expansion of small-scale mining companies. Some of these companies have had to look outside of Nigeria for funds. Also, the approved mining license should be acceptable as collateral for obtaining a loan in Nigeria.
- Accurate Geological Data
Current geological data should be updated to ensure they are more reliable. The Nigerian Geological Survey Agency is currently collaborating with Geological departments in our Higher Institutions to update our geological maps.
Establishment of standard and well-equipped laboratories either by the government or by individuals or companies with government support should be encouraged. Establishment of these laboratories will significantly boost our mining operations.
- High Risk And Health Hazard
With proper funding, mining companies and individuals involved in mining will be able to procure modern equipment to enable them to carry out their operations smoothly. Also, health facilities should be put in place to cater to the medical needs of people directly involved in mining operations.
Proper regulation of the mining industry must be ensured to enable the government to collect the maximum tax it is entitled to from operators in the industry.
- Activities Of Illegal Miners
Majorly of these illegal miners have no other means of survival since they have been involved in mining for many years. The government should encourage these miners to set up proper mining operations in line with available legislation in the country. That way both the interests of the government and those of the illegal miners are protected.
- Lack Of Proper Legislation And Inconsistent Government Policies
The government should decide and make known its position on mining and ensure proper legislation to back this up is enacted. One such legislation recently passed is the mineral act which was signed into law in 2007. It is hoped that this law and similar laws would ensure transparency in the process of granting mining licenses, ensure the security of tenure, encourage competitive fiscal terms and lead to significant growth in our mining industry.
- Low Productivity
The productivity of our mining industry can be significantly increased if modern methods and equipment are used by miners in carrying out mining operations. Modern equipment like bulldozers and excavators will do a faster and neater job excavating the earth than a human with a spade and digger would.
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CONCLUSION ON THE PROBLEMS OF MINING IN NIGERIA
Huge potential lies within the mining industry of Nigeria. With proper legislation and good infrastructure put in place by the government, more investors will come in to do business in our country. Also, a good collaboration must exist between the government, the host communities of our mines as well as both major and minor players within the industry for the smooth running of the industry. It is hoped that if all these are done, our sleeping mining industry in Nigeria can finally awaken with a loud roar.
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