Stakeholders in the mining sector have urged Federal Government to take decisive steps to control and eliminate illegal mining in the country.
They made the call in Abuja in a communiqué issued after a one-day workshop on National Action Plan on Mercury Use in the Nigerian Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector.
The communiqué was signed by Miss Nkiruka Ogbodo of the Department of Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja.
The stakeholders recommended that the government should provide security for the efficient implementation of ASGM projects, while creating functional cooperative societies to ensure its effectiveness.
They urged the government to provide access to capital for mining activities and assist with the provision of appropriate equipment.
They also called on the government to facilitate the establishment of gold buying centres across the country, while sensitising participants in the ASGM sector to their expectations.
The stakeholders said that law enforcement and security agents should be strengthened, educated and empowered to ensure the enforcement of the country’s mining laws.
They, however, asked the government to establish a strategic gold reserve and source products only from only licensed mines.
They stressed that the use of retort capture method for fugitive emissions from mines during burning processing could be an alternative that would ensure mercury-free processing.
They added that traditional panning methods and the sluicing method could also be good alternatives,
The stakeholders said that the objective of the workshop was to ensure the effective implementation of the policy on the ASGM sector.
The Federal Government recently inaugurated the National Steering Committee for the effective implementation of the ASGM sector policy.
The committee is to provide guidance and technical support for the effective implementation of the strategies for the development of the ASGM sector.