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FG sanctions 4 mining coys for violating environmental laws

by Business News Report

The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said that it had sanctioned four mining companies operating in Kogi for non-compliance with the environmental laws in 2014.
Mr Salim Adegboyega, the Acting Director of Mines, Environmental Compliance Department in the Ministry, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the companies were sanctioned for not having the requisite environmental documents such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Community Development Agreement (CDA) as well as Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Programme (EPRP).
Adegboyega said the law had stipulated that it was mandatory for any mining company operating in Nigeria to submit all the documents before commencing operation but they had failed to comply. He said the ministry would not renew their licences and would refuse transfer of their licences from one holder to another.
“We are trying to follow the companies to ensure they comply and at the same time it does not affect the operation of Nigerians that are working with them that could be laid off,’’ he said. He said Section 116 and 119 of the Mining Act stated that every mineral title holder who failed to submit CDA, EIA and EPRP to the ministry before commencing mining had violated the environmental laws. Adegboyega said the ministry had written to more than 300 mining companies across the country to produce their requisite environmental documents, adding that any failure to produce it would result in sanctions.

He said out of the 101companies at risk of being sanctioned by the government last year, 14 were sanctioned in 2014 on the same issue, adding that some had started complying.
The acting director said 20 mining companies were sanctioned in 2012 in Ondo State and 14 in 2014 in other parts of the country for non-compliance.
The acting director said the sanctioned companies were in Ogun, FCT, Nasarawa, Lagos, Kogi, Ondo and Edo. He said the ministry would, in 2015, train its staff on how to use the new environmental equipment to carry out the routine monitoring and site inspections to enable them to perform ultimately in the field. Adegboyega said the equipment would record environmental data in the field and would indicate if there was increase in PH value (acidic) or a reduction in PH value (Alkalinity) either from water or soil.
The acting director said that the equipment would assist analysis and testing of water and air quality in any environment.
He said through this, the equipment would ascertain the situation in the field and it would enable them to compare the baseline studies through the Environment Impact Assessment. Adegboyega said the ministry would also re-inaugurate most of the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committees in the states to ensure hitch-free mining across the country.
He said that the ministry would support the committee to ensure synergy between the local, state and federal governments to ensure solid mineral development.
Adegboyega said government would carry out baseline studies of all the heavy metal contaminated sites across the country to avoid re-occurrence of lead poison in Zamfara.
“We don’t have to wait to have similar re-occurring of the lead poison. We will go round the country to document all the areas having heavy metal productions like lead, gold,’’ he said.
He said the documentation of those areas would enable the government to know the impact of the heavy metals on the communities and environment.
Adegboyega urged miners to comply with environmental requirements to ensure safety.

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