Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Livelihoods in Nigeria: Drivers, Impacts and Best Practices

  • Author / Creator
    Oramah, Ikenna T.
  • Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations are part of the economic stream in most Sub-Saharan African countries. The potential economic, social, and environmental impacts of ASM are extensively recognizable and documented. In view of this, most governments and donor agencies are designing and implementing policies and intervention programs to maximize the economic benefits of ASM while mitigating the negative socio-environmental impacts. By primarily using qualitative research methodologies, this study investigates the potential of ASM livelihood to support rural-scale community developmental objectives, such as poverty and hunger reduction, job creation, and provision of basic community infrastructures and services, in four rural communities in north-central Nigeria. The findings reveal the main drivers for community involvement in ASM livelihood to include high poverty and unemployment levels, farming seasonality, lack of alternative livelihoods, the incentive to raise capital for alternative livelihoods, and neglect of rural development by the government. The findings suggest that the practice has evolved into a viable venture that can potentially sustain rural developmental objectives, such as employment, poverty and hunger reduction, and provision of basic community infrastructure. This is in addition to potentially being able to increase government revenue through mineral and royalty tax, foreign exchange, foreign direct investments, and exploitation of marginal, unattractive deposits. Findings reveal that low levels of education and training, lack of funds, lack of access to mining equipment, lack of access to mineral markets, the general business attitude, and poor governance are the major constraints. For the sector to be able to realize its potential, the study recommends a re-conceptualization of the perceptions about ASM livelihood; the creation of an enabling environment for ASM to thrive, including efficient service delivery on the part of the government, political stability, and continuity in the sector ’s administration; and organization and formalization of the sector using a community-inclusive approach, which appears to offer optimal economic, environmental, and social benefits to stakeholders.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.