The study examines the impact of artisanal small-scale mining on environmental and socio-economic in providing employment opportunities in Nigeria. The study adopted both qualitative method and field work.
The study concluded that presence of these metals at minimal level in all seven locations when compared with the World Health Organisation limits shows that the mode of mining(artisanal small-scale mining) has a direct effect on the surface water of the area which was found to be negative. The research may serve as a reference of study of the trend of artisanal mining in Igun South-western Nigeria. However, the socio-economic and environmental effects the mining has on the area was studied during the course of this research and was found to have created more harm than it has done good to the environment. The results also indicate that the values of most of the observed physio-chemical parameters of water samples fall within the WHO guideline for portable drinking water.
The study further recommends that; educating local miners on the dangers of insequential mining on hit-and-run bases to the environment, the land owners and miners themselves. Government should liaise with geologist as a partner in their business who will use his training to guide their mining operations. The need to restrict children and under aged from labour work in mining sites should be enforced. Government should enforce the legal framework that is already put in place by the government to guide operations of miners in the solid mineral sector. The artisanal miners should be enforced as a matter of necessity, to pay relevant legal fees to government and the land owners while the welfare of the community should be taken seriously. The need for land reclamation after mining activities has ended should be enforced in other words any miner that leaves the land unclaimed should be penalized.
1.1 General Statement
Artisanal small-scale mining is a flourishing economic sector providing employment opportunities for over 2.5 million people including women and children (ILO, 1999). ASM is a good source of poverty reduction and in a way promotes sustainable livelihoods to the people. As advantageous as ASM is to the livelihood of the people especially providing job for the local residents, increase in enterprise of the community, the disadvantages tends to override the benefits.
Artisanal small scale mining, by nature, is in sequential method of mining. The miners and their operation are not organised. This often leads to several hazards and destruction of the landscape wherever they operate.
Because they are not licensed by government, it is difficult to apprehend anybody whenever damages are done to farmland, ground water or social menace created in the once-upon- a- time peaceful community.
The case of lead poison in Zamfara state some years back is one example of how artisanal mining can become a source of cheap death to the unsuspecting miners or people living in mining communities. There had been reported cases of land subsidence where miners are buried alive inside caves supposedly dug to access underground ores.
Igun in Osu area of Ilesha gold field had become a big mining center for both elluvial and alluvial gold mining by artisanal miners for decades. These project was carried out to address some fundamental issues associated with Artisanal mining hazards which include; environmental degradation, child labour, poor safety and health hazards (International Labour Organisation, Social and Labour issues in small-scale mines, Geneva 1999).-
Considering the nature of ASM, mineral resources are usually not explored in categories of reserve. Lack of knowledge of proven or probable reserves makes mid or long term planning difficult. Furthermore, it greatly increases investment risks as well as reduced chances of loan financing.
1.2 Objective of the Study
This research is aimed at studying the following;
- To study the Environmental and socio-economic impacts of artisanal mining in the study area.
- To assess the quality of surface water in the mining community.
1.3 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study includes pre-field work study, fieldwork and sample collection at strategic points reference by the GPS.
The laboratory work to determine the chemistry of the surface water collected and interpretation of results constitute part of the scope of the work.
1.4 Location and Accessibility
The study area is located in the South Western part of Nigeria and located between latitude 4039IE and longitude 7031IN Osun state Nigeria (Fig 1.1).
The study area is assessable by road offset of ife-ilesa express way. This road is untarred but motorable.
Ilesha is a major collecting or export point for cocoa merchandise and a traditional cultural centre for thepeople. Palm oil and kernels, yam, cassava, corn, kola nut, pumpkin, cotton, are collected for the local market. Local industries manufacture nails and carpets and the town has a brewery; there are also a recording company and a publishing firm.