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2015-Sustainable Industrial Processing Summit
SIPS 2015 Volume 4: Meech Intl. Symp. / Mining Operations

Editors:Kongoli F, Veiga MM, Anderson C
Publisher:Flogen Star OUTREACH
Publication Year:2015
Pages:275 pages
ISBN:978-1-987820-27-0
ISSN:2291-1227 (Metals and Materials Processing in a Clean Environment Series)

    From Minamata to Mitigation: Exploring Geographically Representative Monitoring of Lead and Mercury in Artisanal Gold Mining Communities of Northern Nigeria

    Kirsten Dales1; Bernardo Ranieri2; Marcello Veiga2;
    1INDEPENDENT ELEMENT, Vancouver, Canada; 2UBC-MINING, Vancouver, Canada;
    Type of Paper: Regular
    Id Paper: 502
    Topic: 4

    Abstract:

    In Nigeria, >90% of all solid minerals mining is informal and dominated by artisanal and small-scale operations. Within the sector, artisanal gold mining (AGM) supports over 500,000 livelihoods, where unregulated activities have resulted in land degradation, soil erosion and chemical pollution, endangering human health and the environment. In 2010, epidemics of lead-induced child mortality and severe maternal health impacts were observed in Zamfara State, Northern Nigeria. The outbreak in Zamfara represents the worst case of lead poisoning in modern history, presenting unique challenges to mitigate the adverse and potentially synergistic effects resulting from co-exposure to mercury. Recent epidemics of child mortality in Kagara, Niger State (reported in May 2015) highlight the ongoing and disproportionate environmental health burdens born by disadvantaged communities. Despite widespread prevalence of AGM as a rural livelihood strategy in impoverished northern regions of Nigeria, awareness of the adverse impacts of mercury and lead exposure remains extremely low. Due to its toxicity, persistence, and capacity for long-range transport, mercury has become a pollutant of global concern, addressed directly by the Minamata Convention. From a policy perspective, this paper probes the role of Minamata in prioritizing contaminated sites (Article 12) and addressing co-exposure of multiple heavy metals through geographically representative monitoring and modelling (Article 19). In coordination with the Federal Ministry of Environment and Forest Research Institute of Nigeria, we apply systems analysis tools to assess risks based on elemental properties, prioritize contaminated artisanal mine sites and recommend strategies to minimize exposure pathways through plant-based remediation techniques.

    Keywords:

    Artisanal; Ecosystems; Gold; Metal; Mining; Plant; Recovery; Technology;

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    Cite this article as:

    Dales K, Ranieri B, Veiga M. From Minamata to Mitigation: Exploring Geographically Representative Monitoring of Lead and Mercury in Artisanal Gold Mining Communities of Northern Nigeria. In: Kongoli F, Veiga MM, Anderson C, editors. Sustainable Industrial Processing Summit SIPS 2015 Volume 4: Meech Intl. Symp. / Mining Operations. Volume 4. Montreal(Canada): FLOGEN Star Outreach. 2015. p. 117-118.