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Mining industries must treat polluted water

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Investment should be made by Mining industries to prevent water contamination.

At the Diagnostic Assignment Meeting on Nigeria’s Mining Sector Governance Landscape and Prospect, which was coordinated by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Ford Foundation, Olamilekan Adegbite, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, advocated for the necessity of industries making investments to ensure that water bodies are not polluted as a result of mining activities. A representative from the Ministry, Engr Magashi, said on behalf of the Minister that if water pollution is unavoidable, then the industry should take the necessary steps to purify the water.

He stated that mining is a significant contributor to Nigeria’s economy and that its activities, regardless of how large or little they are, are inevitably hazardous to the environment and generate a vast amount of waste. According to the Minister, mining operations slowly but surely degrade both the quality and quantity of water; as a result, preserving the water’s quality is the most pressing environmental concern at mines and mineral processing sites. It has a significant impact on both the surface water and the ground.

Necessary measures and investments should be made in the sector.

The mining industry has a significant effect on water supplies. Some ways mining may affect surface and groundwater include spills, segmentation, acid mines, drainage, erosion, and the disruption of the hydrological cycle. When it comes to water resources, acid mining drainage is a major concern. Mines with acid discharge may cause long-term river ecosystem damage. Hence, industries should invest heavily in preventing water contamination, treating and containing any contamination which does occur in affected reservoirs, canals, pipelines, and other storage facilities. Environmentally friendly techniques and technology should also be promoted within the mining industry.

Furthermore, Mr. Dele Ayankele, Secretary of the Miners Association of Nigeria, stated in his presentation that the world is now through a transformation to green energy at this moment and that Nigeria possesses everything necessary for this transformation that the rest of the world is seeking. This conference is much appreciated; he believes it will help them progress and supplement the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development’s efforts to ensure the mining industry fulfils its function and mission.

Gender equality has not been fulfilled in the mining industry.

Dr. Osasuyi Dirisu, Director of the Policy Innovation Centre at NESG, gave an address on gender challenges in the mining industry, noting that women are underrepresented at all levels of the industry. She stated that women being marginalized and segregated creates situations favorable to sexual exploitation or abuse and that disparities are structural since various policies have different effects on men and women. According to Dr. Dirisu, despite efforts by the government and gender-focused institutions to promote gender equality across sectors in Nigeria, significant gender inequalities continue, especially in the mining industry.

She attributed this partly to the prevalence of gender stereotypes, which she argued perpetuate erroneous beliefs about the characteristics women and men are expected to have and display in their traditional roles. She states that women in mining areas have restricted opportunities for land rights, finance schemes and mining licenses, all of which contribute to the worsening of poverty, the exacerbation of inequalities, and the threat to the establishment of sustainable communities as a result of the decommissioning of mines.

The female gender is negatively influenced by the mining industry.

Moreover, domestic responsibilities limit the free movement of the gender, which further threatens their economic security. The mining industry has a negative effect on women, kids, people with disabilities, and other marginalized communities. As residents of mining communities, employees and service providers in the mining industry, they suffer damage to community assets and water. She also noted that they bear a disproportionate share of the burden of issues relating to health and safety, criminality, prostitution, substance abuse, ruined farmlands, and environmental damage.

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