Efforts are being made through several public and private entities to support artisanal miners. Ordinarily, artisanal operations have erratic production recoveries and make narrow profit margins. As a result, the sector has mostly remained subsistence in nature.
However, the attention and revision of mining legislation for artisanal miners in Nigeria is increasing as the government is looking to optimise all available production.
The integration of this mining into a scenario where structural support, operational efficiencies will benefit both parties will cause the formal sector to see an increase in production. The informal sector will have formal employment conditions (particularly health and safety) and improved environmental practices.
The impact of unsafe and toxic artisanal mining conditions and process techniques has a ripple effect on surrounding areas. Contaminated water and soil result in illness and damage to the fauna and flora of the area which are food sources for surrounding communities.
The formal integration of these miners into the resource value chain should be actioned in an accelerated programme as soon as possible.