Mining development a source of wealth
The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development says mining development can create wealth but can also cause considerable destruction.
A Mining Environmental Regulatory Compliance Handbook of the ministry, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, stated that mining projects could create jobs, roads, schools and increase the demand for goods and services in remote and impoverished areas, but the benefit and cost might be unevenly shared.
It said that mining projects could lead to social tension and violent conflict, if communities felt they were unfairly treated by mining operators.
Citing the International Institute for Environment and Development (2002), it said the displacement of settled communities was a significant cause of resentment and conflict associated with large scale mineral development.
It said that the entire communities might be displaced and forced to relocate to other areas beyond their ancestral homelands, adding that besides loosing their homes and communities, they could also lose their land and livelihoods.
It added that displaced communities often settled in areas without adequate resources; forced resettlement could be particularly disastrous for indigenous communities that had strong cultural and spiritual ties to land of their ancestors.
It explained that loss of access to clean water was among the most contentious aspects of mining project that affected mining communities.
According to the document, to deal with those aforementioned problems, proponents of mining projects must insure that the basic rights of affected individuals and communities are upheld and not infringed upon.