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


Other title
Artisanal and small-scale mining
Socio-economic and environmental impacts of mining
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Oramah, Ikenna T.
Supervisor and department
Jeremy Richards (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Denise Young (Economics)
Theresa Garvin (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Tara McGee (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Robert Summers (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Hilson Gavin (External Examiner)
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
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.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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