To further reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN) has suspended mining and allied activities in Nigeria until further notice in the interest of the public.
The directive, the group said is imperative given the volatility of social interactions in mining communities, and the high rate of mobility of mineworkers, even across the borders, adding that window of entry of the virus into any of its minefields may impact efforts at curbing the spread.
National President, MAN, Kabiru Mohammed and Secretary, Dele Ayanleke, said the decision was taken in the best interest of the public and to assist government, health authorities and all stakeholders fight the deadly disease ravaging the country.
The association noted that due to the nature of mining, it does not naturally and technically conform to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standard requirement of “social distancing”, stressing that mining activities required people to have close contacts during operation.
It also noted that mining usually takes place in rural areas without access to healthcare delivery that is capable of handling the deadly virus. According to the group, “Considering the peculiar nature of our mining activities which are mostly domiciled in the rural communities with attendant lack of health and other basic amenities, infiltration of illegal immigrants and a high level of social contacts and interactions among the mineworkers and other camp dwellers, the Association has come to the conclusion that the state of our mining sites is not in tandem with “social distancing” as a major weapon to combat the spread of “COVID-19.
“The Association has been monitoring, with patriotic interest, the developments and all measures being taken at mitigating the effects of this monumental health challenge and curbing its spread, by the Federal Government, State Governments and health authorities at both local and international levels.
“It is in light of the above that the National Executive Council of Miners Association hereby directs all our members across the nation to close all mining operations forthwith until the nation survives this global emergency. We also appeal to other non-member miners to heed this patriotic directive in the overall national interest.
“While we are not unaware of the cumulative economic and operational costs of the adherence to this directive on the investments of our members and other miners, we plead that they should regard this call as our sacrificial contributions to deliver our nation, fellow citizens, ourselves and other residents from the pandemic of coronavirus,”MAN said.