The Federal Government has commenced the validation of a policy document towards eliminating mercury in Artisanal Gold mining in the country.
At the validation workshop in Abuja, the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor said it has become necessary to establish such policies that would assist artisanal miners to enhance their productivity in an environmentally sound manner.
Director Pollution Control and Environmental Health in the Ministry, Mr. Charles Ikeah maintained that the document being developed in collaboration with United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO and the Global Environment Facility, (GEF) was in line with the Minamata Convention on mercury, aimed at protecting the people.
“The advent of the GEF Gold project is timely and it’s goal is in line with government’s priority to protect human lives and the environment, effectively implement the Minamata Convention on mercury, strategically position the mining sector for economic growth and sustainable development” He said.
Also the environment expert in UNIDO, Mr. Oluyomi Banjo said the importance of adopting sustainable approach to gold mining in the country.
According to Banjo, “UNIDO has a history of working in the Artisanal and Small scale Gold Mining, ASGM sector globally and we are also
implementing National Action Plan (NAP) and other ASGM projects in several African countries and other parts of the world”.
”Our support and collaboration to the Nigerian government in meeting its obligations under the Minamata Convention has been shown through various platforms, some of which are through the implementation of Nigeria’s Minimata Convention Initial Assessment and the Nigeria’s National Action Plan Development on Mercury in the ASGM Sector”. Mr. Oluyomi Banjo.
The validation of the document is being done under the Global Environment Facility Planet-Gold project with the theme “Enhancing Formalization and Mercury-Free Gold in Nigeria.”
Reporting by Godson Elekwachi, edited by Adeniyi Bakare