25 September 2014, Lagos – Acting Director of Mines, Environment and Compliance, Ministry of Solid Minerals, Mr Salim Adegboyega, on Thursday said the Federal Government would soon sanction 101 mining companies for not complying with environmental laws.
Adegboyega, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, said those companies had been identified to have critical issues on environmental compliance and warned.
He said the companies had not all the mandatory environmental documents such as Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Processing and Rehabilitation Programme and Community Development Agreement.
The acting director said it was mandatory for any mining company in Nigeria to submit these documents to the ministry before it commenced mining but that they had failed to do so.
He said it was mandatory for any mining company in Nigeria to submit these documents before commencing operation but that some of them began functioning without submitting the documents to the ministry.
Adegboyega said the firms to be sanctioned included local and foreign mining companies, adding that they could be sanctioned on environmental ground by virtue of the legality of their operations.
He added that the ministry had compiled the names of the companies to be sanctioned for publication and for public notice.
He explained that publishing of the companies’ names was to create public awareness on the need for mining companies to comply with environmental laws.
“It is our hope that they will comply speedily or else the other aspect of the law for sanction which includes prosecution will be taken upon them.
“When you write to companies asking them to comply within certain period, sanctioning in this case may warrant asking them to suspend their activities or withdrawal or revoking their titles,’’ he said.
Adegboyega said the law had spelt out that any company sanctioned would have its mineral title revoked and would be fined N20m, depending on the gravity of the offence.
He said the ministry had not forwarded anybody for prosecution yet.
Adegboyega explained that any company sanctioned, its license would not be renewed, adding that “this year we have a lot of issues for non-compliance with environmental issues.”