Diala made the observation in Abakaliki during a workshop for artisanal and small-scale miners, organised by the Ebonyi Ministry for Mines and Steel Development.
The theme of the workshop was “Basic training course for artisanal/small scale miners in the South East zone”.
Diala, a mining Consultant, said that with his experience in Britain and Ghana, Nigeria could be said to be a non-mining country.
“There are no operational mines in the country as obtained before the nation’s civil war when such mines and intense mining activities were obtained in Plateau and other cities.
“The over dependence of the country on oil led to this development, although the government is determined to reverse the trend,” he said.
He said the intention of returning mining to its deserved place in the nation’s economy led to the organisation of the workshop for the South-East and other zones of the country.
“Mining can be revitalised in the country through the formalisation of small-scale miners’ activities and adequate enlightenment on modalities to enhance their activities.
“More than 400,000 individuals in the country benefit directly from the activities of small scale miners.
“The formalisation of their activities has changed the perception that they are doing illegal mining,” he said.
He said participants at the workshop were tutored on basic mining requirements such as organisation of artisanal mining sites, environment and health issues and causes of broken down mines.
Mr Obiora Azubike, Director, Artisanal and Small Scale Mining in the ministry, said Ebonyi was chosen for the workshop in the South East due to the prevalence of mining activities in the state.
Azubike, represented by Mr Charles Ukah, an official of the ministry, said Ebonyi was endowed with several minerals which made it imperative for the activities of small-scale miners to be coordinated.
According to him, the workshop will benefit the miners in their prospecting and exploration services and provision of proven mineral reserve evaluation.
He also said it would also offer assistance on mine/quarry design and planning, and teach adequate skills in mining with new technology.
He said participants would also be tutored on how to provide environment impact assesment report and detailed guidelines on waste and tailing disposal.
Other areas are introduction of health and safety procedures in mining, provision of teaching equipment and plants hire on arrangement with manufacturers.
Mrs Judith Ubekwu, a participant, said that her knowledge of mining had been enhanced through the workshop, adding that she would put it into optimal use.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that a communique at the end of the programme urged artisans and small scale miners to register with miners’ association.
The communique called for the conversion of abandoned quarries to fish ponds and conversion of underground mines into national monuments and tunnels.