Abuja, Nigeria – September 12, 2023 – In recent years, illegal mining has emerged as a rising concern in Nigeria, posing serious public health and environmental risks. The unchecked actions of illegal miners harm not just the well-being of local communities, but also the country’s natural resources and ecosystems.

Because of a lack of efficient regulatory mechanisms and enforcement, illegal mining has spread throughout Nigeria. These activities frequently take place in isolated and dangerous areas, far from the watchful eye of authorities.

One of the most important concerns is the impact of unlawful mining on public health. Many of these unregulated mining enterprises discharge harmful elements into the environment, including heavy metals and poisons. This contamination has serious effects on local populations who rely on surrounding water sources and agricultural land. Ingestion or absorption of these contaminants can cause a variety of health concerns, including respiratory problems, neurological diseases, and even cancer.

Children are especially sensitive to the health concerns connected with unlawful mining because they frequently play near contaminated water sources and eat poisons through food and water. The dust and gases produced by mining activities can aggravate respiratory problems in both children and adults.

Illegal mining is a big issue in Nigeria, with disastrous effects on public health and the environment. Illegal miners frequently use hazardous chemicals and procedures, such as mercury amalgamation, which can pollute water and land and cause major health concerns for those who live nearby.

Lead poisoning is one of the most serious public health issues related to unlawful mining. Lead is a heavy metal that can harm the neurological system and result in a variety of health issues including learning difficulties, behavioral issues, and even death. Because their brains are still developing, children are especially sensitive to lead poisoning.

Illegal mining can also pollute water supplies by introducing heavy metals and other pollutants. This can cause a variety of health issues, including diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes, and cancer. Illegal mining can also impair water supplies, making it difficult for communities to gain safe drinking and cooking water.

Besides public health problems, illicit mining can have a disastrous impact on the ecosystem. Illegal miners frequently remove trees and other plants to gain access to minerals, which can cause soil erosion and deforestation. They may also dump mining waste into rivers and streams, contaminating the water and endangering aquatic life.


Meanwhile, it is critical that the general population is aware of the dangers of illicit mining. People should avoid living or working near illicit mining operations, and they should avoid drinking water from places where illegal mining is taking place.

Case Study – Zamfara State

The state of Zamfara in northern Nigeria is one of the hardest hit by illegal mining. There have been several cases of lead poisoning in Zamfara State in recent years, especially among children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 50,000 children in Zamfara State have increased blood lead levels in 2019.

Using mercury amalgamation by illicit miners is mostly responsible for lead poisoning in Zamfara State. Mercury amalgamation is a method of extracting gold from ore that uses mercury. Mercury can contaminate water, soil, and air if it is released into the environment. Mercury can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or ingested.

Lead poisoning can have a severe effect on the health of children. It can cause learning impairments, behavioral issues, and even death. Many children in Zamfara State who have been exposed to lead are suffering from these and other health concerns.

The Nigerian government has made some attempts to solve the lead poisoning situation in Zamfara State. Using mercury amalgamation in gold mining was prohibited by the government in 2020. However, illicit mining is still prevalent in Zamfara State, and the lead poisoning epidemic persists.

The situation of Zamfara State is only one illustration of the devastation that unlawful mining may cause to public health and the environment. It is critical to raise awareness of this issue and strive toward solutions.




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