The federal government, through the Ministry of Mines and SteelDevelopment in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), yesterday trained key stakeholders to develop a national action plan on mercury reduction.
Permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu said the workshop is part of a national project being implemented under the auspices of Global Environment Facilities (GEF) and coordinated by UNIDO.
He said, “The workshop is designed for the purpose of building the capacity of staff on research methodologies and other technical know how that would enable the participants conduct a study on national comprehensive analysis of artisanal and small scale gold mining.
In his words “The findings of this research I am aware would benefit the ministry in terms of accurate data generation and support our policy review initiative. More importantly, it will be part of a programme aimed at developing our national action plan on the reduction of the use of mercury and other mercury compounds in Nigeria in accordance to the provision of the Article 7 of the of the Minimata convention on mercury which Nigeria is signatory to.”
The Permanent secretary assured that the training workshop will equipthe research team with the requisite skills and knowledge to carry out comprehensive research activities whilst in the field.
Speaking earlier, the director, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining,
Patrick Ojeka, recalled that Nigeria became a signatory to the MinimataConvention October 10, 2013, adding that the federal governmentthrough the Ministry of Environment has been coordinating the activities preparatory to developing the country’s NAP for thereduction or where possible, elimination of mercury use in key industrial sector.
He said, “The treaty requires that member countries carry out activities towards reduction in the use of mercury, adding thatNigeria successfully completed the MIA report and is at the point of producing the NAP documentHe said the Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector isacknowledged as the major source of anthropogenic mercury releases andenvironmental pollutant and as a result attract particular interestThe ASM director said the training is aimed at building the ministry’stechnical enumeration team, line MDAs, NGOs, Miners Association andrelated stakeholders in specific special enumeration skills.
He assured that the lessons learnt will be of great value as it will armthe team in impacting same in the field and meeting up with the globalstandards, applicable in all nations involved in the process
He assured that the execution of the exercise will enable the provision of information that will form part of our NAP on mercury reduction, the scope of mercury in the ASGM, an inventory of quantities of mercury used and practices employed, an assessment ofthe health impact of mercury use and baseline consumption of mercury and other harmful chemicals including cynanide.
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