Artisanal mining or small scale mining is the exploration and mining of minerals by subsistence miners. These miners are mostly unorganized and their operations are largely independent from one another. Though, in some communities they form groups and cooperatives.
Most artisanal miners in Nigeria work seasonally. For example, those that mine gold and other metals from river beds often extract the metals when the water level is low, that is during the dry season. During the high tide period of the rainy season, they stop mining.
How to make money from safe artisanal mining
The artisanal mining done by most small scale miners in Nigeria is unsafe and can lead to extensive damage of the miners’ health and the environment.
If you want to make money from artisanal mining, I will advise the safe form of artisanal mining.
What do you need to do to make money from artisanal mining?
Register your business
Most artisanal miners are not registered as business concerns. It is always better to register a business name or a limited liability company in order to be on the side of the law.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is in charge of registration of businesses in Nigeria. You can register a business name yourself on the website of the CAC. You can also get a lawyer to do it for you.
Get all the necessary permits
The Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office is in charge of registration of mining leases. As an artisanal miner, you do not need to meet all the regulations big miners are expected to meet. As a matter of fact, most small scale miners in Nigeria do not register with the Mining Cadastre Office.
Do mineral exploration
Locals in the community often know that their land is blessed with minerals but they often do not know the type of minerals and the reserve.
There are small tools you can use to know the type of minerals in a location. You can also engage mineral exploration consultants.
Geologists and geophysicists are skilled in mineral exploration.
Buy the equipment needed
Even if you are an artisanal miner, you will be more efficient if you use modern tools. Do not do mining like the illiterate small scale miners. This can be very dangerous and may lead to death.
In Zamfara state, a lot of people died because of their unsafe methods of mining gold, this led to lead and mercury poisoning.
Organise the current artisanal miners into groups or cooperatives
You can also make money from small scale mining by organizing artisanal miners into groups or cooperatives.
The advantage of this is that they miners are likely to sell the minerals they get to you. So you bulk buy from them and sell to make profit.
Sell the minerals
You will make money if you export the minerals you mine. Export prices are more attractive and profitable. Most miners in Nigeria export minerals to minerals hungry countries like China, Vietnam and Australia etc.
Be a responsible corporate citizen
Do not degrade the environment and empower the members of the communities where you mine. It is always good to carry the members of the community along if you really want to have peace of mind when doing your business.
Artisanal mining can be very profitable. If you have the technical knowhow and funds, you can start this business.