A Sociological Analysis of the Impact of Solid Minerals Mining On Community Development in Nasarawa State: A Study of Awe Local Government Area (Published)
Nigeria’s economic history shows that the solid minerals sector was a major player in the country’s economy before the discovery of oil, contributing about 12 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Generally, the exploitations of solid minerals always take place in communities where they are deposited. The activities involved in the process cannot be divorced from the social interactions and relationships between the miners and host communities. It has been observed that mining activities have great degrading effects on physical environment of the host communities, which can negatively affect the socio-economic development of the mining communities and cause serious health hazards for the members of the communities. The thrust of this research is to examine the impact of mining activities on the development of the host communities particularly, now that the economic policies of Nigerian government is focusing more on mining as a better alternative source of revenue for government. This study employed survey research design approach to analyze causal explanation. For the purpose of this study, three mining communities in the study area were selected using cluster sampling, namely Abuni, Azara and Mairago. The principal methods of data collection used are closed-ended questionnaire, in-depth interview and Focus Group Discussion (FGD). Based on the research questions, the analysis of data is both quantitative and qualitative. The study revealed that mining sector has the potential for creating jobs, greater GDP and huge exports but a greater amount of Nigerian miners are artisanal small scale operators, who conduct explorations of minerals without adequate equipment. The study discovers that there has been cordial and harmonious relationship between the host communities and mining companies in the area under study. The study concludes that mining companies has contributed to community development in the area according to their capacity. It therefore recommends among others that the potential of solid mineral sector notwithstanding, there is the need for environmental impact assessment of the host communities before any mining activity to reduce environmental hazards. Establishing and maintaining mutual trust between people and the mining companies should be the main goal of the community partnership. The mining companies should always recognize the need for cooperation with the community and to encourage members of the community to be involved in their own development.