Tin mining degradation : autobiographical investigations of home, loss and identity

Suwa Gbolagun, V ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0387-8719 2021, Tin mining degradation : autobiographical investigations of home, loss and identity , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

Tin mining on the Jos Plateau was the major income earner in Nigeria before petroleum was discovered in the Niger Delta region in 1958. The excavation for tin left the Plateau landscape environmentally depleted, with over forty-six per cent of its land filled with gullies and ponds due to tin mining. However, the discourse on environmental degradation in Nigeria is often associated with oil exploration in the Delta region, with little mention made of the Jos Plateau. The reason for the lack of emphasis is connected to the fact that very little literature about the negative impacts of tin mining degradation is available on the Jos Plateau. To counter the rarity of material on the negative effect of tin mining, I use the tool of memory recollection to draw and reflect on my own earliest memories of the tin ponds around where I lived as a young girl. I grew up on the Jos plateau surrounded by ponds. I was warned not to go near the ponds as they were inhabited by spirits and mammy water that pulled unsuspecting inhabitants, mostly children, into their grips. (The mammy water is a mermaid that is half human and half fish, believed to inhabit a body of water). While the ponds were considered unsafe, they served as a place of escape for me. Although I was warned to stay off such dangerous ponds, I always found myself drawn to them. The ponds became my escape from home and trouble, a place to connect with the grieving spirits and perhaps, see mammy water. From my research, it became evident that the ponds had such ‘pull’ because of the forceful use of dredging machines to plough the ground for tin. And because such areas were left open without fencing, they became death traps. Apart from the danger that the ponds represent physically, I have also explored how tin mining activities have resulted in the loss of lives, farmlands, homes, and sources of livelihood. The collection of stories and poems allows me to draw on my personal experience as a member of the community of the region to tell our story, the story of living alongside tin mining and degradation. Since there is very little material available to discuss the stories of people who contributed to the tin mines, especially women, these stories and poems will function as resource material for students on the Jos plateau to understand the story behind the ponds and the black sand in their environment. (The black sand refers to the tin deposits scattered on the ground). It will serve as a historical record, helping to explain the reason for the many ponds, their nature and thus their role in the many deaths, previously explained by the community through their beliefs in spirits. This may be beneficial in terms of health and safety around the tin-ponds in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Kendall, J (Supervisor) and Hurley, UK (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Depositing User: VASHTI Suwa gbolagun
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2021 14:27
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2021 14:27
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/61840

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